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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Gore's committee assignments

During his time in the House of Representatives, Gore had gained positions on several key agencies such as the Appropriations Committee and the Independent Offices Subcommittee, which oversaw the appropriations for the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Atomic Energy Commission. As a result, when he ran for the Senate, he had statewide recognition.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DEWEY W. GRANTHAM:
Could we at this point turn to your election to the Senate in 1952? And would you reflect on the background of that election, including your decision to run (which you referred to earlier), the circumstances in the state, anything else that seems pertinent to you in thinking back to your very important breakthrough here and defeat of the remnant Crump machine and election to the Senate in your own right?
ALBERT GORE:
Well, as I've said I had earlier (four, maybe as much as five or six years earlier) determined that I would make an effort to be elected to the Senate. I think it was perfectly natural that I would consider 1952, because it was at that time that Senator Kenneth D. McKellar's term came to an end. And he was quite advanced in years, and I believe had said when he ran in 1946 that he would not again be a candidate. So here was a vacancy in the United States Senate. And I had been a successful congressman (at least in my estimation) [laughter] , and I had planned to make the campaign in 1952, assuming that Senator McKellar survived the term (which he fortunately did). I had a great many strengths on which to make a campaign: number one, I had state-wide identification. I had in 1934 managed the first state-wide campaign, as I've said, of Gordon Browning and created organizations in each of the counties. Then I had gone into his administration as governor in 1937 and headed one of the departments; that gave me more state identification. And as I've said, I campaigned actively in his successful campaign in 1948. Then during my service in Congress I became a member of the Appropriations Committee; and I was appointed to the Independent Offices Subcommittee, which handled the appropriations for TVA and the Atomic Energy Commission. So I was handling legislation that had as much importance to one part of the state as to another. And at that time every TVA appropriation bill was highly controversial. The TVA was then very popular in Tennessee and I, Congressman Albert Gore, was leading the fight for TVA appropriation bills, all of which were very important to the growth and economic development of our state. And those fights that I made were just as popular in one congressional district in Tennessee as in another. Then I handled the appropriations for Oak Ridge, for the first atomic bomb. I was one of the five people in the House who were selected on a highly confidential basis to handle in secret appropriations for the first atomic bomb. Well, this too was sort of a prestigious assignment, and it gave me an opportunity to play a key part in the development of Oak Ridge, which later became our fifth largest town. So in addition to my own congressional district-which had varied; I'd gone through a redistricting, and I think at the time I ran for the Senate I had previously represented twenty-five of Tennessee's counties in the House of Representatives-I had been a husbandman for the development of Oak Ridge. I had made tries for development of steam plants in West Tennessee and East Tennessee and in Memphis. So both as a factional political leader, as a campaigner with a personal knowledge of state political structure, and as a congressman handling appropriations for many things of importance throughout the state, I was well-based to make a campaign. So I determined to make it in 1952, and started early. I had announced in 1950 that I would never run for the House of Representatives again, and everybody knew that. I'd come to the point that I had had what I regarded as a successful career in the House, and I had reached the consent of my mind to (as I've said earlier) go up or out of public life. Fortunately it was up.