Happy Birthday Senator Thurmond

“He’s History Still Standing”

“As a newspaperman on Capitol Hill (1962-1964) I was in my 20’s and Thurmond was in his 60’s. Now I’m in my 60’s and head of a national senior citizens group and he’s still going strong.” — Jim Martin, President, 60 Plus Association

Washington, DC — Sen. Strom Thurmond (R- South Carolina) has been named a “Senior Solon of the Century” by a national seniors organization, the 60 Plus Association.

“This is a very special award for a very special senior citizen,” said Martin, President of the 60 Plus Association, which has 500,000 members nationwide. “The term ‘been there, done that’ aptly describes Sen. Thurmond’s lifetime of public service as teacher, lawyer, circuit court judge, World War II Army officer, governor, presidential candidate and U.S. Senator.”

At 94, Thurmond became the oldest senator. On May 25 1997, he became the longest-serving member of the Senate, surpassing the record 41 years, 9 months and 30 days by Sen. Carl Hayden (D-Arizona). December 5th marks another milestone in Senator Thurmond’s storied career. He’s 100 and he’s truly ‘history still standing’.

Martin said he first met Sen. Thurmond when Martin covered Congress from 1962 to 1964 for news outlets in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, including the Columbia State, Augusta Chronicle and Anderson Independent in South Carolina, as a newspaperman with Sims News Bureau, owned by Edward Sims of Orangeburg.

Martin said he and Lee Bandy, now political columnist for the Columbia State, worked for Sims’ Washington bureau in those early days. Martin later worked for Rep. Edward J. Gurney (R-Florida) who ran successfully for the Senate in 1968.

“Senator Thurmond campaigned for Rep. Gurney in 1968 and Floridians constantly told Thurmond they had voted for him for president in 1948,” said Martin. “A young campaign aide to the ’68 Gurney Senate race was a 21 year-old, fresh out of Yale, named George W. Bush, now President Bush,” Martin noted.