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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tom Steed
Tom Steed.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byGlen D. Johnson
Succeeded byDave McCurdy
Personal details
BornMarch 2, 1904 (1904-03-02)
Eastland County, Texas
DiedJune 8, 1983 (1983-06-09) (aged 79)
Shawnee, Oklahoma
Citizenship United States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Hazel Bennett Steed
ChildrenRoger Steed Richard Steed
Professionjournalist, newspaper editor, politician
Military service
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1942-1944
RankPrivate Second Lieutenant
UnitAnti-aircraft Artillery

Thomas Jefferson "Tom" Steed (March 2, 1904 – June 8, 1983) was an American politician and a U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma.

Early life

Steed was born on a farm near in Eastland County, Texas (near Rising Star, Texas) on March 2, 1904. His family later moved to Oklahoma, where he attended school (in Konawa, Oklahoma). After only one semester of high school, he began working for the "Ada Evening News". He married Hazel Bennett in 1923, and they had two children, Roger and Richard. Roger was a Marine second lieutenant and fighter pilot and was killed in China in 1947.[1]


Continuing to work in journalism, Steed worked for a number of Oklahoma newspapers including the "Daily Oklahoman". Beginning in 1935 he served as an assistant to three of Oklahoma's U.S. congressmen, Percy Lee Gassaway, Robert P. Hill, and Gomer Griffith Smith. In 1938 he returned to Oklahoma and became managing editor of the Shawnee News-Star.

Military service

After the outbreak of World War II, Steed enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 29, 1942, and was assigned to the Anti-aircraft Artillery. Steed was released from active duty in May 1944 with rank of Second Lieutenant. Steed continued his contribution to the U.S. war effort when he joined the Office of War Information on July 1, 1944. Steed also served with the information division in India-Burma Theater until December 1945.[2] He often stated that his experience in journalism, the military and in the U.S. Congress had taught him "knowledge is power".

Political career

Steed ran for Congress in 1948 and was elected as a Democrat, taking office on January 3, 1949. He was re-elected in 1950, and was continuously re-elected until 1980, when he decided to retire. Steed's final congressional race in 1978 was successful although he faced a spirited challenge in the Democratic primary election from M.E. "Cuffie" Waid, a popular Lawton Optometrist and Chamber of Commerce leader. He served a total of 32 years in Congress, longer than any other Oklahoman in Congress at the time, and left office on January 3, 1981.[3] While in Congress, he sat on the Education and Labor, Public Works, Appropriations, and Small Business committees, briefly chairing this last committee during the Ninety-fourth Congress. He also served as chair of the Subcommittee on the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government and of the Subcommittee on Taxation and Oil Imports.

Steed did not sign the 1956 Southern Manifesto, and voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957,[4] 1960,[5] 1964,[6] as well as the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,[7][8] but not the Civil Rights Act of 1968.[9]

Accomplishments in office

According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Steed's accomplishments while serving in Congress included:

  • Conducting hearings on price wars affecting the dairy and retail petroleum industries;
  • Cosponsored the Upstream Conservation Act, enacted in 1954;
  • Joined with Sen. Robert S. Kerr to realize the Arkansas River Navigation System;
  • Cosponsored the 1956 Library Services Act, which established the bookmobile system;
  • Brought the Postal Service Institute to Norman, Oklahoma in 1968;
  • Helped obtain funds for the education center at Rose State College and the Gordon Cooper Vocational Education School in Shawnee.[10]

Death and legacy

Steed returned to Oklahoma and resided in Shawnee, where he remained until his death on June 8, 1983 (age 79 years, 98 days). He is interred at Resthaven Cemetery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.[11] After his death, a portion of Interstate 40 near Shawnee was renamed the "Tom Steed Memorial Highway." Tom Steed Reservoir near Mountain Park is also named after him.

See also


  1. ^ "Tom Steed". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Tom Steed". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Tom Steed". Govetrack US Congress. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  4. ^ "HR 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957".
  5. ^ "HR 8601. PASSAGE".
  6. ^ "H.R. 7152. PASSAGE".
  8. ^ "TO PASS H.R. 6400, THE 1965 VOTING RIGHTS ACT".
  10. ^ Kosmerick, Todd J. "Steed, Thomas Jefferson (1904-1983)." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed July 30, 2016.
  11. ^ "Tom Steed". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 10 June 2013.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Glen D. Johnson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Dave McCurdy
This page was last edited on 16 September 2020, at 11:36
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