Proxmire, William

Proxmire, William (Edward William Proxmire), 1915–2005, U.S. senator (1957–89), b. Lake Forest, Ill. He worked in army counterintelligence during World War II and later entered politics, serving (1951–52) as a Democrat in the Wisconsin state assembly. After three unsuccessful attempts at the governorship, he was elected (1957) to the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the death of Joseph McCarthy. Considered a maverick by his Senate colleagues, Proxmire opposed wasteful government spending, especially by the military. He led the successful fight (1970–71) in Congress against financing the U.S. supersonic transport plane and the successful ratification campaign (1977–86) for a treaty outlawing genocide. Proxmire was chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee (1975–81, 1987–89). He wrote Report from Wasteland (1970) and Uncle Sam—the Last of the Bigtime Spenders (1972).

See biography by J. G. Sykes (1972).

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