Alvin E. O'Konski
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Wisconsin's 10th district
January 3, 1943 - January 3, 1973
|Bernard J. Gehrmann|
|Born||May 26, 1904|
|Died||July 8, 1987 (aged 83)|
Born on a farm near Kewaunee, Wisconsin, O'Konski attended the local public schools and the University of Iowa. He graduated from State Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1927 and from the University of Wisconsin (now University of Wisconsin-Madison) in 1932. He was a high school teacher in Omro and Oconto from 1926 to 1929, a member of the faculty of Oregon State College at Corvallis from 1929 to 1931, and a faculty member at the University of Detroit from 1936 to 1938. He was superintendent of schools in Pulaski, Wisconsin, from 1932 to 1935 and an instructor at a junior college in Coleraine, Minnesota, in 1936. He was an educator, journalist, lecturer, editor and publisher at Hurley, Wisconsin, from 1940 to 1942.
In 1942, O'Konski was elected as a Republican to the Seventy-eighth Congress. He was then reelected to the fourteen succeeding Congresses serving from January 3, 1943, till January 3, 1973. While in congress, he represented Wisconsin's 10th congressional district. He lost a bid for the Republican senatorial nomination to succeed Joseph McCarthy in 1957.
O'Konski represented a district that included much of the northwestern part of the state, including Rhinelander and Superior. However, after the 1970 census, Wisconsin lost a district, and most of O'Konski's territory was merged with Wisconsin's 7th congressional district represented by three-term Democratic Party member Dave Obey. O'Konski retained only about 40 percent of his former territory, a disadvantage he was unable to overcome despite his seniority. Even though Richard Nixon carried most of the district in the 1972 election, O'Konski was defeated. A proposed navy project called Project Sanguine which O'Konski supported may have been a factor in his loss.