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Daniel John "Dan" Flood (November 26, 1903 – May 28, 1994) was a flamboyant and long-serving Democratic United States Representative from Pennsylvaniamarker. He was censured for bribery and resigned from the House in 1980.

Early life and career

Daniel J. Flood was born in Hazeltonmarker in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He attended the public schools of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvaniamarker, and St. Augustine, Floridamarker. He graduated from Syracuse Universitymarker in 1924. He attended Harvard Law Schoolmarker and was graduated from Dickinson School of Law in Carlislemarker in 1929. He was admitted to the bar in 1930 and opened a practice in Wilkes-Barre. He was an attorney for the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation in 1934 and 1935.

Flood studied acting in his early school days, a skill he fancied and often utilized while serving as a member of Congress. Flood sported a signature waxed moustache from that time throughout his career and had a penchant for white suits. His flamboyant style, dress and speech were often compared to that of a Shakespearean actor. He persuaded his friend James Karen to begin his acting career, recruiting him into a production at the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre.

Political career

Flood served as the deputy attorney general for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and counsel for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board from 1935 to 1939. He was director of the State Bureau of Public Assistance Disbursements, and executive assistant to the State Treasurer from 1941 to 1944.

United States House of Representatives

Flood made his first run for office in 1942, when he was the Democratic candidate in a special election to replace Congressman J. Harold Flannery in what was then the 12th District, based in Wilkes-Barremarker. He narrowly lost to Republican Thomas B. Miller. Flood ran against Miller again in the general election later that year and lost by a wider margin. However, he ran again against Miller in what had now been renumbered the 11th District and won. He was defeated for reelection in 1946 due to a nationwide Republican landslide, but regained his seat in 1948. He was reelected in 1950, only to be swept out by Dwight Eisenhower's massive landslide in 1952. He was reelected in 1954, and after a close reelection bid in 1956 was reelected 11 more times without serious opposition.

Flood is admired to this day as a folk hero in northeastern Pennsylvania. Many of them grew up watching his televised messages to them from Washington, which were a staple of Sunday morning television for years, and for his knack of being around for virtually any event that took place in his district.

He persuaded Senator John F. Kennedy to campaign in his home district and was an avid supporter of Kennedy's later Presidency.

Flood used his considerable influence in Congress to transition the economy of his district, which was devastated when the anthracite coal-mining industry took a severe downturn. While in Congress, Flood was credited with sponsoring the Area Redevelopment Act in 1961 and the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969.

Referring to his influence with the Commerce Departmentmarker in April 1964, Flood stated, "Under Secretary of Commerce Martin is going to fly with me to my district tomorrow to help me break ground for the intersection of routes 80 and 81. These are the two major intercontinental highways, and it's no coincidence that they intersect in my district. This is the only place in the country where they do intersect. Martin would not be doing this with me if it weren't for our long association."

He is also known for his efforts in rebuilding his district in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes. When the tropical storm remnants of Hurricane Agnes overwhelmed the Susquehanna River watershed in 1972, causing major flooding all along the river, one of the hardest-hit locations was Wilkes-Barre's business and residential areas. Flood, subcommittee chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, with years of clout accumulated while in office, was credited with limiting federal red tape in what was then the most-damaging hurricane ever recorded in the U.S. From air and boat rescue, to bringing President Richard M. Nixon in to survey flood damage, and establishing a federal response - all were credited to Flood. "It took a Flood to tame a flood" was his catchphrase.

Daniel J. Flood Elementary School in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District is named in his honor.

In the neighboring city of Scranton, however, he was occasionally accused of favoring Wilkes-Barre, and he is often cited as the source of the naming of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airportmarker (with Wilkes-Barre first, despite being the smaller of the two cities and being second alphabetically.)

Censure and resignation

During the 96th United States Congress, Flood was censured for bribery. The allegations led to his resignation on January 31, 1980. He died in Wilkes-Barre in 1994.

References

  1. [1] Daniel Flood Center
  2. The Best Congressman, George Crile
  3. [2] Censure Citations


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