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James John Howard (July 24, 1927 in Irvington, New Jerseymarker – March 25, 1988 in Washington, D.C.marker) was an Americanmarker educator and Democratic Party politician who represented in the United States House of Representatives from 1965–1988.

Howard graduated from St. Rose Schoolmarker, Belmarmarker, in 1941, Asbury Park High Schoolmarker in 1947, St. Bonaventure University, in 1952; and earned a Master of Education degree from Rutgers Universitymarker, New Brunswick, N.J.marker, in 1958.

Prior to being elected to the House, Howard served in the United States Navy in the South Pacific from December 30, 1944, to July 19, 1946; teacher and acting principal in Wall Townshipmarker school system from 1952 to 1964.

Elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-ninth and to the eleven succeeding Congresses and served from January 3, 1965, until his death in Washington, D.C.marker, on March 25, 1988.

On May 23, 1967, Howard created a public controversy over the M16, the basic combat rifle in Vietnam, beginning after he read a letter to the House of Representatives in which a Marine in Vietnam claims that almost all Americans killed in the Battle of Hill 881 died as a result of their new M16 rifles jamming. By the end of 1967, the problem had been resolved.

In 1974, he introduced the idea of a 55-mile-per-hour speed limit. And Congress soon imposed a nationwide 55 MPH (90 km/h) speed limit by threatening to withhold highway funds from states that did not adopt this limit. It was estimated a speed of used 17% less fuel per mile than a speed of 75 MPH (120 km/h). It was also believed, based on a noticeable drop the first year the limit was imposed, that it cut down on highway deaths, but later studies were more mixed on this point. In addition, Howard authored an innovative coordinated surface transportation policy and program. Howard’s other notable, enduring contributions to the fight for enhanced highway safety include sponsorship of a myriad of bills such as: the Howard-Barnes anti-drunk driving legislation (1982); the Child Restraint Law (1984), which increased funding for state child passenger safety programs; legislation establishing a uniform minimum drinking age of 21 (1984); the National Driver’s Register (1982); the National Infrastructure Act (1983); and the Motor Carrier Act (1980), which was the first regulatory reform of the trucking industry in half a century that, among other things, increased federal aid for truck safety programs.

The career of Representative was distinguished by his steadfast commitment to highway safety issues, Howard—who came to be known as "Mr. Highway Safety" — was named chair of Committee on Public Works and Transportation (Ninety-seventh through One Hundredth Congresses).

At the time of his death, Representative Howard was fighting against a broad business coalition preparing to mount a renewed effort to persuade Congress to "complete" truck deregulation -- a move they said will save $87 billion in distribution costs. Upon his death the committee chairmanship was succeeded by Rep. Glenn M. Anderson (D-CA).

Frank Pallone filled the seat vacated by Howard's death in 1988.

Howard was a resident of Spring Lake Heights, New Jerseymarker, and was interred in St. Catharine’s Cemetery in Sea Girt, New Jerseymarker.

Honors

  • On September 21, 1985, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center was destroyed by a fire. On October 11, 1989, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at Sandy Hook, New Jerseymarker for the construction of a marine research laboratory to be occupied by scientists from the Department of Commercemarker National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), as well as from state agencies through the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium (NJMSC), and academic institutions in New Jersey. The new laboratory, was completed in about three years and named the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory to honor the late U.S. Representative who strongly supported marine research'. The primary mission of the Howard Laboratory is to conduct research in ecology, leading to a better understanding of both coastal and estuarine organisms and the effects of human activities on nearshore marine populations.


  • The Governors Highway Safety Association named their highest honor the James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award. The award honors an individual for sustained outstanding leadership in endeavors that significantly improve highway safety. The recipient of this award must have undertaken a concerted, long-term effort to make our nation’s highways safer and has made a significant contribution to the field of highway safety. The recipient must have established and implemented programs or have been responsible for notable advancements in technology or research throughout the years that have yielded a demonstrated safety impact.


  • The Asbury Parkmarker main train station and bus terminal was torn down and rebuilt as the James J. Howard Transportation Center.


  • On April 6, 1988 President Ronald Reagan signs H.R. 4263 naming Interstate 195 (I-195) in New Jersey the James J. Howard Interstate Highway. Interstate 195 is an east-west freeway linking Trenton and Princeton to Lakewood and the Jersey Shore.




  • Fort Monmouthmarker's Eatontown Gardens, 600 family housing units in fifty two buildings, constructed 1953-1954, was renamed for Congressman James J. Howard in recognition of his long-time support for Fort Monmouth and his contributions in Congress to the welfare of soldiers and the Army.


References

  1. Sullivan, Joseph F. "POLITICS; Parties Maneuver to Replace 2 Representatives", The New York Times, April 3, 1988. Accessed December 16, 2007. "Until Mr. Howard, Democrat of Spring Lake Heights, won the seat in the wake of President Lyndon B. Johnson's landslide 1964 victory and began his 24-year career, the district was represented for 22 years by James C. Auchincloss, a Republican, until advancing age forced his retirement."


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