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Mike McCormack (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mike McCormack
Senator Mike McCormack, 1967.jpg
McCormack in 1967
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1971 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byCatherine May
Succeeded bySid Morrison
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 16th district
In office
January 9, 1961 – November 1970
Preceded byAl B. Henry
Succeeded byDaniel J. Jolly
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 16th district
In office
January 14, 1957 – January 9, 1961
Preceded byAl B. Henry
Succeeded byJames N. Leibold
Personal details
Claude Gilbert McCormack

(1921-12-14) December 14, 1921 (age 98)
Basil, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceMedford, Oregon
Alma materUniversity of Toledo
Washington State College
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1943–1946
RankFirst lieutenant
Battles/warsWorld War II

Claude Gilbert "Mike" McCormack (born December 14, 1921) is a retired American politician, who served as U.S. Representative from the State of Washington's Fourth Congressional District from 1971 to 1981. He is a Democrat. [1]


McCormack was born on December 14, 1921 at Basil, Ohio (now part of Baltimore, Ohio); his parents were of Scots-Irish and English descent. As a young man he attended schools in Toledo, Ohio, graduating from Waite High School. He began college at the University of Toledo in 1939, worked for two years, and then entered military service in 1943. He attended OCS and was commissioned as second lieutenant, parachute infantry, United States Army, with occupation duty in Germany until 1946, at which time he was discharged as first lieutenant. From 1946 to 1949, he attended Washington State College and received Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Physical Chemistry. He worked briefly at the University of Puget Sound, and then spent twenty years as a research chemist with the atomic energy facilities of the Atomic Energy Commission at Hanford, during which time he resided in Richland, Washington.

In 1956, at age 35, McCormack was first elected to a public office as member of the Washington State House of Representatives, and was re-elected in 1958. During this period he sponsored successful legislation to allow automobiles by default to make right-turns at red lights, a novel idea at the time, in order to conserve energy by reducing time spent idling.

In 1960, at age 39, McCormack was elected to the State Senate, and was re-elected in 1964 and 1968. While serving in the State Senate, McCormack was a member of several important committees, including the Interim Budget Committee and the Joint Committee on Higher Education. He was often associated with public higher education in press coverage. He was a principal author of the legislation that combined and extended the junior colleges of the state into the Community College System during 1967 and 1968.

In 1970, at age 49, McCormack was elected to the United States House of Representatives. His election was an upset victory over five-term Republican Representative Catherine May.

Mike McCormack
Mike McCormack

McCormack entered the United States Congress in 1971 as the only Member with a degree in Science, emerging as an expert on energy matters, a prominent issue during the years of his congressional service. He was a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy Research and Production. He was an author of laws that authorized efforts which included matters such as solar energy, electric cars and fusion power, and his expertise on overall energy issues was acknowledged by Members of Congress of both political parties.

McCormack was a cosponsor in a successful attempt to pass legislation intended to facilitate general conversion of the United States to the metric system of measurement. HR 8674, the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, was ultimately signed by President Ford into public law 94-168. [2]

At times, McCormack took positions that were critical of the policies advocated by presidents and administrations of both political parties.

In 1980, at age 59, in the midst of the "Reagan landslide", McCormack unsuccessfully sought a fifth term against Sid Morrison.

In 1981, McCormack's Congressional papers were transferred to the Washington State University Library.[1] He then worked in Washington DC through the 1980s, during which time he was a member of the Space Telescope Institute Council,[2] an advisory group of the Space Telescope Science Institute. During the 1990s he lived in Ellensburg, Washington where he created and ran the Institute for Science and Society, which was primarily involved in teaching science literacy to K-12 teachers.

In 1999, McCormack received the Charles Lathrop Parsons Award,[3] the purpose of which is: "To recognize outstanding public service by a member of the American Chemical Society."

McCormack currently resides in Medford, Oregon with his wife Margaret.


Date Position Status Opponent Result Vote share Opponent vote share
1954 WA Representative Challenger Lost in Democratic primary Defeated 19.58%
1956 WA Representative Challenger B.B. Smith (R) Elected 59.49% 40.51%
1958 WA Representative Incumbent Eleanor Morbeck (R) Re-elected 61.94% 38.06%
1960 WA Senator Challenger Robert W. Benoliel (R) Elected 59.13% 40.87%
1964 WA Senator Incumbent Con Adams (R) Re-elected 55.38% 44.62%
1968 WA Senator Incumbent Mary H. Aldrich (R) Re-elected 69.69% 30.31%
1970 U.S. Representative Challenger Catherine May (R) Elected 52.58% 47.42%
1972 U.S. Representative Incumbent Stewart Bledsoe (R) Re-elected 52.08% 47.92%
1974 U.S. Representative Incumbent Floyd Paxton (R) Re-elected 58.91% 41.09%
1976 U.S. Representative Incumbent Dick Granger (R) Re-elected 57.78% 40.98%
1978 U.S. Representative Incumbent Susan Roylance (R) Re-elected 61.15% 38.85%
1980 U.S. Representative Incumbent Sid Morrison (R) Defeated 42.64% 57.36%


  1. ^ "Washington State University Library Archives: Mike McCormack Papers, 1959-1994". Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  2. ^ "The Current Space Telescope Institute Council". Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  3. ^ "Charles Lathrop Parsons Award". Retrieved 2006-05-28.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Catherine May
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Sid Morrison
This page was last edited on 26 September 2019, at 10:53
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