John O. Pastore

John O. Pastore

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John O. Pastore

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John Orlando Pastore (March 17, 1907 July 15, 2000) was a Rhode Island Democratic Party politician who was a United States Senator from Rhode Island (1950 until 1976) and the 61st Governor of Rhode Island (1945 until 1950), and was the first Italian American to hold either position.

Early life and career

Born in Providence on March 17, 1907, he attended Classical High School and graduated from law school at Northeastern University in 1931 where he went on to practice law in Providence. He was a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1935 to 1937, was assistant attorney general of Rhode Island from 1937 to 1938 and again from 1940 to 1944. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island in 1944. He became Governor of Rhode Island in 1945 when Governor J. Howard McGrath resigned to become Solicitor General of the United States. In 1946, Pastore was elected to a gubernatorial term in his own right; he was re-elected in 1948.


In 1950, Pastore was elected to the United States Senate as a Democrat in a special election to replace — once again — J. Howard McGrath, who had resigned in 1949 to become United States Attorney General (Edward L. Leahy held the office during a 16-month interim appointment). Pastore was re-elected in 1952, 1958, 1964 and 1970.

In the summer of 1964, he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which renominated Lyndon B. Johnson for the Presidency.

He won his final...
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