Gaylord Nelson (Gaylord Anton Nelson)

Gaylord Nelson

In 1948, Gaylord Nelson was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate. He remained a member until 1958. That year, Nelson was elected governor of Wisconsin, and he served two two-year terms before successfully running for Senate in 1962. He served three consecutive terms as a senator from 1963 to 1981. In 1963 he convinced President John F. Kennedy to take a national speaking tour to discuss conservation issues. Senator Nelson founded Earth Day, which began as a teach-in about environmental issues on April 22, 1970. During his 1968 re-election campaign, Nelson was praised by Vince Lombardi, the General Manager and former coach of the Green Bay Packers, as the “nation’s #1 conservationist” at a banquet in Oshkosh. Nelson’s campaign turned Lombardi’s banquet speech into a radio and television campaign commercial, infuriating Lombardi, the Wisconsin Republican Party, and Vince’s wife, Marie, who was a staunch Republican.  Although known primarily for his environmental work, Gaylord Nelson also was a leading consumer advocate, strong supporter of civil rights and civil liberties, and one of the early outspoken opponents of the Vietnam war. In 1970, Nelson called for Congressional hearings on the safety of combined oral contraceptive pills, which were famously called “The Nelson Pill Hearings.” As a result of the hearings, side-effect disclosure in patient inserts was required for the pill – the first such disclosure for a pharmaceutical drug. Gaylord Nelson was also a noted advocate of small business. While chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, he led successful efforts to authorize the first modern White House Conference on Small Business, create the system of Small Business Development Centers at U.S. universities, and improve the way that federal agencies regulate small businesses and other small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act. In 1973, Nelson was one of the three senators who opposed the nomination of Gerald Ford to be Vice President. (The other two were Thomas Eagleton and William Hathaway.) Gaylord Nelson died of cardiovascular failure at age 89 on July 3, 2005.

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Born

  • June, 04, 1916
  • USA
  • Clear Lake, Wisconsin

Died

  • July, 03, 2005
  • USA
  • Kensington, Maryland

Cause of Death

  • cardiovascular failure

Cemetery

  • Clear Lake Cemetery
  • Clear Lake, Wisconsin
  • USA

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