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John Joseph "Joe" Moakley (April 27, 1927 – May 28, 2001) was a Democratic congressman from the Ninth District of Massachusetts, a seat held two years earlier by Speaker John William McCormack. Moakley was the last chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Rules before Republicans took control of the chamber in 1995.

Moakley was born in Boston, Massachusettsmarker, April 27, 1927. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. Moakley was involved in the War in the Pacific from 1943 to 1946. After returning home, he attended the University of Miamimarker in Coral Gables, Floridamarker from 1950 to 1951, and he received his LL.B. at Suffolk University Law School in Boston in 1956.

Moakley was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1953 to 1963 and a member of the Massachusetts Senate from 1964 to 1970. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1968. After the retirement of longtime Congressman John W. McCormack, Moakley ran for the Democratic nomination in the 9th District, but lost to Boston School Committee chairwoman Louise Day Hicks against the backdrop of Boston's unfolding busing crisis. He was a Boston City Councilman from 1971 to 1973,

In 1972, however, Moakley ran as an independent against Hicks, and defeated her by 3,400 votes. He had let it be known that he would serve as a Democrat if elected, and was sworn in as a Democrat on January 3, 1973. He was reelected 14 times, never facing substantive opposition. He only faced Republican challengers six times; the other times he was either completely unopposed or faced only minor-party opposition. In 2002, he posthumously received the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award for his unrelenting commitment to ending the war in El Salvador and throughout Central America, and for the compassionate care he gave his constituents in Massachusetts for nearly three decades.

Fighting the legislative veto

Moakley is quoted and referenced in Barbara Hickson Craig's book (Chadha: The Story of an Epic Constitutional Struggle) on the groundbreaking court case INS v. Chadha (1983). Moakley's role in the affair was to hold in committee a controversial bill proposed by Representative Elliott Levitas. The bill proposed a sweeping generic legislative veto. Moakley saw flaws in the bill. Later, the Chadha case's verdict declared the legislative veto unconstitutional because the veto violated the bicameralism and presentment clauses of the Constitution. While others in Congress lamented the loss of the veto, Moakley commented that the Chadha decision would help strengthen Congress.

Later career

Joe Moakley chaired the Committee on Rules in the 101st Congress through 103rd Congress.

Moakley managed to have a bridge in Boston named for his wife, Evelyn Moakley, after her death. The Evelyn Moakley Bridge is next to a U.S. Courthouse, which was subsequently named the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse shortly before his death.

Moakley's efforts led to the acquisition by Bridgewater State Collegemarker (Bridgewater, MA) of a $10 million grant. The grant allowed the construction of the campus fiber network and a new regional telecommunications facility, which dramatically enhances the teaching capability of the region's educational professionals and promotes the growth of the region's economy. The John Joseph Moakley Center for Technological Applications provides training in the use of technology for students, teachers, and members of the workforce. The three-story building houses a large computer lab, a television studio, an auditorium, and numerous classrooms.

Joe Moakley died on May 28, 2001, of Myelodysplastic syndrome in Bethesda, Marylandmarker. His body was interred in Blue Hills Cemetery, Braintree, Massachusettsmarker. The Hematological Cancer Research Investment and Education Act, enacted in 2002, establishes the Joe Moakley Research Excellence Program for expanded and coordinated blood cancer research programs.

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