Gerald Ford’s Congressional Career
Gerald Ford represented Michigan in the House of Representatives from January 1949 to December 1973.
When Ford returned to Grand Rapids after World War II he joined a well-known local law firm and became involved in a variety of community organizations. Encouraged by Senator Arthur Vandenberg and the Home Front, a group seeking to reform the area’s government, he decided to challenge the isolationist incumbent Bartel Jonkman for the Republican nomination for the House of Representatives in the 1948 election. He won the nomination by a wide margin and was elected to Congress on November 2.
Ford went on to be reelected twelve times, each time with more than 60% of the vote. He once described himself as “a moderate in domestic affairs, an internationalist in foreign affairs, and a conservative in fiscal policy.”
In 1951 he became a member of the House Appropriations Committee, later rising to prominence on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and becoming its ranking minority member in 1961.
In 1964 Ford announced he would challenge Charles Halleck for the position of minority leader of the House. With the support of the House Republican “Young Turks” he won by a small margin and took over the position early in 1965, holding it for eight years.
Ford’s ambition to become Speaker of the House was never realized as the Republicans could not achieve a majority during his tenure in Congress.
Pictured: Gerald R. Ford campaigns from atop a circus elephant in 1950.
-from the Ford Library
Elephants in the Room - Presidential Gifts
President Reagan was given 788 elephant-related gifts during his time in the White House. This action figure, hand-knit vest, crystal-studded ostrich egg, and porcelain figurine are a small sampling of the presidential pachyderms at the Reagan Library. BTW, the ostrich egg is a music box that plays “Hail to the Chief.”
See more crafty, cute, and over-the-top gifts in our gallery: Elephant Gifts from the People