Senator Robert Byrd (D- W.VA) died on Monday, June 28th. He was the longest serving member of Congress.
The Charleston Gazette reports on his life and accomplishments in politics:
Byrd was perhaps best known for the way he funneled dozens of projects and millions of federal dollars to his home state, West Virginia. He earned the sobriquet “the Prince of Pork” from some taxpayer groups — they meant it as an insult, but Byrd wore it as a badge of honor.
Byrd ran for state and national office 15 times and never lost. Once elected to the U.S. Senate in 1958, he steadily advanced through the ranks. He was named majority whip in 1971 and majority leader in 1975. Democrats became the minority party in the Senate in 1981, but Byrd remained their leader until they regained control of the Senate in 1987.
In 1989, he was elected president pro tempore of the Senate — a largely ceremonial post — and named chairman of the Appropriations Committee. It was there that he began funneling federal projects and money to West Virginia in earnest. The first big salvo came in 1991, when FBI officials announced they would build their new fingerprint identification center just outside Clarksburg.
Now, dozens of projects bear the senator’s name: the Green Bank radio telescope, the federal courthouses in Charleston and Beckley, the locks on the Ohio River at Gallipolis Ferry, a Clarksburg high school and numerous streets, libraries, health clinics, college departments — a seemingly unending list. There’s the Robert C. Byrd Freeway (Corridor G) and the Robert C. Byrd Highway (Corridor H), both part of the Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System.