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Clair Engle (September 21, 1911 – July 30, 1964) was an American politician of the Democratic Party and a United States Senator from Californiamarker.

Early Years

Engle was born in Bakersfield, Californiamarker. He attended public school in Red Bluff, Californiamarker and graduated from Chico State Teachers Collegemarker in 1930 and from the University of California Hastings College of Lawmarker in 1933.

Admitted to the bar in 1933, Engle commenced practice in Corning, Californiamarker, and served as district attorney of Tehama County, Californiamarker from 1934 until 1942, when he was elected to the California Senate, serving in that body in 1943.

Member of the U.S. Congress and Senate

On August 31, 1943, Engle was elected as a Democrat to represent California's 2nd congressional district in the 78th Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Harry L. Englebright. He was elected to a full term in 1944 and was reelected to the following six Congresses, serving until January 3, 1959. While in the United States House of Representatives he was Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on War Claims for the 79th Congress and Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs for the 84th Congress and the 85th Congress.

Engle was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1958 and began his service there January 3, 1959. However, in 1963 he fell victim to brain cancer, which left him partially paralyzed, and he missed several Senate sessions in 1963 and 1964.

Final days

On June 10, 1964, during the roll call for the historic, successful effort to break the filibuster on what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when the clerk reached "Mr. Engle," there was no reply. The tumor had robbed Engle of his ability to speak. Slowly lifting an arm, he pointed to his eye, thereby signaling his affirmative vote ("aye"). The cloture vote was 71-29, four votes more than the two-thirds required to cut off the filibuster. . Nine days later the Senate approved the Act itself.

Engle died in Washington, D.C.marker a month and a half later, aged 52.

Trinity Lakemarker, in California's Trinity County, was renamed for Clair Engle, although the name Trinity Lake continued to be commonly used, and eventually the lake's original name was restored.

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