We Know We Belong to the Land - A Hundred Years of Oklahoma and the Congress
War and American Ascendance (part 5)

The 1948 election saw Robert S. Kerr launch his Senate career. After an unsuccessful attempt for the 1952 Democratic presidential nomination, Kerr built a power base in the upper chamber which led to his designation as the "uncrowned king of the Senate." Across the Capitol, Carl Albert began his ascent of the leadership ladder when selected Majority Whip in 1956. Moreover, he and four colleagues who came to the House in this period—Page Belcher, Ed Edmondson, John Jarman, and Tom Steed—advanced in seniority through the 1970s.

Despite a 1952 loss of House seats from eight to six, the Oklahoma delegation grew in influence. The continuation of most defense bases plus a united delegation on agriculture and oil meant more federal funds for the economy. Oklahoma became a potent force in Congress.

William Stigler, Dixie Gilmer, Tom Steed, Elmer Harber, Robert S. Kerr, and Carl Albert
Above: At a 1950 reception, part of the Oklahoma delegation joins Democratic national committeeman from Oklahoma Elmer Harber (fourth from the left).  Also pictured left to right are William G. Stigler, William F. “Dixie” Gilmer (D-OK, 1949-1950), Tom Steed (D-OK, 1949-1980),  Robert S. Kerr, and Carl Albert.
George Schwabe touring the Grand Coulee Dam
Above: While in the House, George B. Schwabe was a member of the Appropriations Committee and the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee for Labor and Federal Security. In this photo, members of an Appropriations subcommittee inspect the Grand Coulee Dam. Shown are Ivor D. Fenton (R-PA, second from left), Schwabe (third from right), and Ben F. Jensen (R-IA, far right).
George Howard Wilson
Above: George Howard Wilson (D-OK, 1949-1950) served only one term and was on the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. As a member of the Subcommittee on Public Health, Science, and Commerce, he toured western Europe to investigate national health programs.
Robert S. Kerr
Above: Oklahoma’s first native son elected governor, Robert S. Kerr (D-OK, 1949 to January 1, 1963) was successful in his first campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1948. Dubbed the “Uncrowned King of the Senate,”  he served on several key committees, including  Finance and Public Works, and  forged alliances with important senators. A partner in Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Kerr was a key champion of southwestern oil and gas interests. However, he did not hesitate to use his influence on Oklahoma's behalf as millions of dollars were diverted to military and civilian projects in the state. 
John Jarman campaign flier
 
Robert S. Kerr

Audio Clip: Robert S. Kerr
Here are two of Robert S. Kerr's campaign jingles featuring a barbershop quartet. His 1952 attempt at the Democratic nomination for president was ultimately unsuccessful. The slew of hopefuls was eventually narrowed down to Adlai Stevenson, governor of Illinois, who lost the election by a landslide to war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Campaign Jingles, March 26, 1952 (Running time: :38 - Jingle 1, :53 - Jingle 2)

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