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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Melvin Price
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois
In office
January 3, 1945 – April 22, 1988
Preceded byCalvin D. Johnson
Succeeded byJerry Costello
Constituency22nd district (1945—1949)
25th district (1949—1953)
24th district (1953—1973)
23rd district (1973—1983)
21st district (1983—1988)
Chair of the House Committee on Armed Services
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1985
Preceded byF. Edward Hebert
Succeeded byLes Aspin
Personal details
Charles Melvin Price

January 1, 1905
East St. Louis, Illinois
DiedApril 22, 1988(1988-04-22) (aged 83)
Camp Springs, Maryland
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materSt. Louis University
Military service
AllegianceUnited States Army
Branch/serviceQuartermaster Corps
Years of service1943–1944

Charles Melvin Price (January 1, 1905 – April 22, 1988) was a member of the United States House of Representatives for over 40 years, from 1945 to his death. He represented Metro East, the Illinois portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Early life

Charles Melvin Price was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on January 1, 1905. After a parochial school education, he graduated from St. Louis University High School and took two years of pre-law coursework at Saint Louis University. He became a sports correspondent for the East St. Louis Journal and later the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. He served as a member of the St. Clair County Board of Supervisors from 1929 to 1931. He served as secretary to Edwin M. Schaefer during the latter's term of office from 1933 to 1943. In October 1943, he voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army. He was stationed at Fort Lee at the time of his election to the United States House of Representatives.[1]

United States House of Representatives

He was elected to Congress in his own right in 1944.

Most notably, he served as the chairman of the United States House Committee on Armed Services between 1975 and 1985. He lost this position at the beginning of the 99th United States Congress. Overthrowing a committee chairman was not a common occurrence at that time, but a majority of the House Democratic Caucus seemed to feel that the aged Price was no longer up to the job. In addition, Price, while liberal on domestic issues, was notably more supportive of defense spending than most Democrats. When it came to choosing Price's successor, the Caucus bypassed several other old hawkish members of the committee in favor of Les Aspin, who was not only much younger than Price and other more senior members, but also seemed closer in his defense policy preferences to the majority of the Democratic Caucus.

During his time in Congress, he also chaired the Ethics Committee (1967–76) and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (1973–74). He remained in Congress until his death. Congressman Price had a role in enacting the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act. He died in 1988 of pancreatic cancer.[2] Price is the namesake of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, near Alton, Illinois on the Upper Mississippi River, and the Melvin Price Federal Building and United States Courthouse in East St. Louis.

In the special election to succeed Price, fellow Democrat and chairman of the St. Clair County Board, Jerry Costello defeated Republican candidate Robert Gaffner. Costello took office August 9, 1988.[3] He was elected to a full term that November with 53% of the vote.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Barrett, Edward J. (ed.). Illinois Blue Book 1945-1946. p. 124. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  2. ^ Rangel, Jesus (April 23, 1988). "Representative Melvin Price, 83, Is Dead of Cancer After 22 Terms". New York Times.
  3. ^ "Our Campaigns - IL District 21 - Special Election Race - Aug 09, 1988".
  4. ^ "Our Campaigns - IL District 21 Race - Nov 08, 1988".

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 22nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 24th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 23rd congressional district

District eliminated
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 21st congressional district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 4 May 2023, at 03:10
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