John A. Volpe
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John A. Volpe
John Volpe
John Volpe (1970).jpg
Volpe as Transportation Secretary, 1970
United States Ambassador to Italy

March 6, 1973 - January 24, 1977
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Graham Martin
Richard N. Gardner
2nd United States Secretary of Transportation

January 22, 1969 - February 2, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Alan Boyd
Claude Brinegar
Chair of the National Governors Association

October 16, 1967 - July 21, 1968
William L. Guy
Buford Ellington
61st and 63rd Governor of Massachusetts

January 7, 1965 - January 22, 1969
LieutenantElliot Richardson
Francis W. Sargent
Endicott Peabody
Francis W. Sargent

January 5, 1961 - January 3, 1963
LieutenantEdward F. McLaughlin Jr.
Foster Furcolo
Endicott Peabody
Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration
Acting

October 22, 1956 - February 5, 1957
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Charles Dwight Curtiss
Bertram D. Tallamy
Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Works

February 1953 - October 22, 1956
GovernorChristian Herter
William F. Callahan
Anthony DiNatale
Personal details
Born
John Anthony Volpe

(1908-12-08)December 8, 1908
Wakefield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died
Nahant, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Giovaninna Benedetto (m. 1934)
Children2
EducationWentworth Institute of Technology (BS)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1942-1946
RankU.S. Navy O-4 infobox.svg Lieutenant Commander
UnitSeabees Instructor

John Anthony Volpe (; December 8, 1908 – November 11, 1994) was an American businessman, diplomat, and politician from Massachusetts. A self-made son of Italian immigrants, he founded and owned a large construction firm. Politically, he was a Republican in increasingly Democratic Massachusetts, serving as its 61st and 63rd Governor from 1961 to 1963 and 1965 to 1969, as the United States Secretary of Transportation from 1969 to 1973, and as the United States Ambassador to Italy from 1973 to 1977.[1] He was an important figure in the development of the Interstate Highway System at the federal level.

Early life and education

Volpe was born on December 8, 1908 in Wakefield, Massachusetts.[2] He was the son of Italian immigrants Vito and Filomena (née Benedetto) Volpe, who had come from Abruzzo[3] to Boston's North End on the SS Canopic in 1905; his father was in the construction business.[]

Volpe attended the Wentworth Institute (later known as the Wentworth Institute of Technology) in Boston where he majored in architectural construction and entered the construction business, building his own firm in 1930.[4] By the outbreak of World War II, it was one the nation's leading construction companies.[3]

Personal life

In 1934, Volpe married Giovannina Benedetto, with whom he had two children, John Anthony, Jr. and Loretta Jean Volpe Rotondi.[3] During World War II, he volunteered to serve stateside as a United States Navy Seabees training officer, enlisting with the rank of lieutenant commander.[3] He was a Knight of Columbus.[5]

Early political career

Volpe's first political post was in 1951, when he served as the deputy chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party.[3] In 1953, Governor Christian Herter appointed him the Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Works, and in 1956 he was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the first administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. In this position he oversaw the early phases of the development of the Interstate Highway System.

Governor of Massachusetts

In 1960, Volpe was elected Governor of Massachusetts, defeating Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Joseph D. Ward. He served as governor from 1961 to 1963. In 1962, Volpe was narrowly defeated for reelection, losing to former Governor's Councillor Endicott Peabody in a Democratic landslide. In 1964, Volpe ran again for governor and was able to capitalize on disarray within the Massachusetts Democratic Party when Lieutenant Governor Francis X. Bellotti defeated Peabody for the Democratic nomination for governor. Despite the Democratic landslide nationwide that year, Volpe defeated Bellotti in a close race. In 1966, Volpe was elected to the first four-year term in Massachusetts history, defeating former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward J. McCormack, Jr.

During his administration, Governor Volpe signed legislation to ban racial imbalances in education, reorganize the state's Board of Education, liberalize birth control laws, and increase public housing for low-income families. Governor Volpe also raised revenues, engaging in a long and ultimately successful fight to institute a three percent state sales tax. He served as president of the National Governors Association from 1967 to 1968.

Presidential campaign

In 1968, Volpe ran unsuccessfully as a "Favorite son" candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. He was defeated in the state presidential primary by a spontaneous write-in campaign for New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller.[6] Volpe was one of the finalists in Richard M. Nixon's decision concerning a running mate; he was considered acceptable to most wings of the party, but Nixon ultimately selected Spiro Agnew instead.[7]

Secretary of Transportation

Following the election, President Nixon rewarded Volpe for his support by appointing him Secretary of Transportation. He resigned as governor to assume the cabinet post, and served in that position from 1969 to 1973. During his tenure, Volpe abandoned previous positions supportive of unfettered highway construction, instead pushing for a more balanced approach to the nation's transportation infrastructure. He was notably instrumental in effectively ending attempts to revive Boston's failed Inner Belt project, which he had promoted as highway administrator.[8]Amtrak was established during his time in office.

Volpe was the second to serve in this role following the position becoming a Cabinet-level appointment. He received the Award of Excellence in 1970 from Engineering News-Record for his service as Secretary of Transportation.[9]

Ambassador to Italy

Volpe had a long and abiding interest in the homeland of his parents, and visited it many times. In 1969, he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.[10]

In 1973, Volpe was nominated by President Nixon and confirmed by the United States Senate as United States Ambassador to Italy, a position he held until 1977. Volpe was looked down upon by elements of the Italian elite, due to is roots in southern Italy,[11] and upset leftist elements of its political establishment by making strong statements against the inclusion of the Italian Communist Party in its government. He was accused by the Italian Communist press of being "neo-Fascist" for his views.[12]

Death and legacy

Volpe died in Nahant, Massachusetts on November 11, 1994, at the age of 85.[1] He was buried at Forest Glade Cemetery in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge was named in his memory, as well as the Governor John A. Volpe Library at Wakefield High School in Wakefield. Volpe's papers are stored in the Archives and Special Collections of the Northeastern University Libraries, in Boston.[13]Terminal E at Logan International Airport is also dedicated in his honor.

References

  1. ^ a b Jennifer Steinhauer (November 13, 1994). "John A. Volpe, Nixon Supporter And Massachusetts Governor, 85". New York Times. Retrieved . John Anthony Volpe, a former Governor of Massachusetts, Ambassador to Italy and United States Secretary of Transportation, died on Friday night. He was 85 and lived in Nahunt, Mass. The Nahant police attributed his death to natural causes. ...
  2. ^ Kilgore, pp. 19-20
  3. ^ a b c d e Driscoll, Jr, Edgar (November 12, 1994). "John Volpe, former Mass. Governor, Dead At 85". Boston Globe.
  4. ^ "Biography: John A. Volpe" Archived 2012-11-22 at the Wayback Machine, US Department of Transportation
  5. ^ Lapomarda, S.J., Vincent A. (1992). The Knights of Columbus in Massachusetts (second ed.). Norwood, Massachusetts: Knights of Columbus Massachusetts State Council. p. 88.
  6. ^ Wainstock, p. 94
  7. ^ Wainstock, pp. 115-116
  8. ^ Rose and Mohl, pp. 154-157
  9. ^ Lewis, Scott (April 20, 2015), "ENR Marks 50 Years of Excellence", Engineering News-Record, New York: Dodge Data & Analytics, vol. 274 no. 11, pp. 42-56, ISSN 0891-9526
  10. ^ Fornasier, pp. xvii-xviii
  11. ^ Gardner, p. 36
  12. ^ Fornasier, pp. 124, 226
  13. ^ John A. Volpe Papers - Northeastern University Library

Sources

Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles Gibbons
Republican nominee for Governor of Massachusetts
1960, 1962, 1964, 1966
Succeeded by
Francis W. Sargent
Political offices
Preceded by
Foster Furcolo
Governor of Massachusetts
1961-1963
Succeeded by
Endicott Peabody
Preceded by
Endicott Peabody
Governor of Massachusetts
1965-1969
Succeeded by
Francis W. Sargent
Preceded by
William L. Guy
Chair of the National Governors Association
1967-1968
Succeeded by
Buford Ellington
Preceded by
Alan Boyd
United States Secretary of Transportation
1969-1973
Succeeded by
Claude Brinegar
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Graham Martin
United States Ambassador to Italy
1973-1977
Succeeded by
Richard N. Gardner

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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