SENATOR RUSSELL B. LONG
Former Senator Russell Billiu Long, who served Louisiana in the United States Senate for 38 years, died on Friday, May 9, 2003, in Washington, D.C. He was 84 years old. The son of Huey Pierce Long and Rose McConnell Long, he was born in Shreveport on November 3, 1918. He attended public schools in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans and graduated from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge in 1939 and from its law school in 1942. In 1938, he was elected LSU's Student Body President. At LSU, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 1942 and began practicing law in Baton Rouge in 1946. During the Second World War, he volunteered for and served in the United States Navy from June 1942 until discharged as a lieutenant in December 1945. As the commander of an LCT (landing craft tank) vessel, he participated in Allied invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Southern France. For his service to the United States of America, he was awarded four Battle Stars.
He served as special counsel to Louisiana Governor Earl K. Long in 1948. On November 2, 1948 - the day before his 30th birthday - he was elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy created by the death of Senator John H. Overton and took office on December 31, 1948. By large margins, the people of Louisiana reelected him to the Senate in 1950, 1956, 1962, 1968, 1974, and again in 1980. He retired from office on January 3, 1987, at the end of his seventh term.
He served as the Senate's Democratic Whip, or assistant majority leader, from 1965 to 1969. During his years in the Senate, he served on several committees, including Finance, Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Commerce, Science and Transportation, Joint Committee on Taxation, and Select Committee on Ethics. He was chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance from 1965 to 1981. He served as co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation from 1965 to 1967 and as chairman of the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation from 1967 to 1977.
He was a fierce advocate of the interests of Louisiana and its people. A tireless and effective champion for the poor, the elderly and average workers, he was father of Employee Stock Ownership Plans; these plans have given millions of American workers a meaningful stake in the companies for which they work. In 1956, he authored the first major expansion of the Social Security system to include benefits for the disabled. He was a primary architect of the Medicare system, creator of the Earned Income Tax Credit (the cornerstone of America's anti-poverty programs), and the author of public financing of presidential campaigns.
After his retirement from the Senate, he practiced law in Baton Rouge and Washington, D.C. Also, he served on the boards of directors of several corporations: the New York Stock Exchange, Metropolitan Life, Lowe's Companies, and the Louisiana Land and Exploration Company.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Bason Long of Washington, D.C.; two daughters, Rita Katherine "Kay" Long of Baton Rouge, and Pamela Long Wofford and son-in-law Douglas Lloyd Wofford of Indio Hills, California; one brother, Palmer Reid Long, and his wife, Louene Long of Shreveport; and one sister, Rose Long McFarland, of Boulder, Colorado.
Also surviving are his four grandchildren, Audra McCardell Snider and husband Jeremy Snider of Rockville, Maryland, Katherine Barrett Mosely, Russell Long Mosely and wife Erin Saporito Mosely, and Kirk Meredith Mosely, all of Baton Rouge. Nieces and nephews include Marsha McFarland Budz of Boulder, Colorado, Terry McFarland Fluke of Gallatin Gateway, Montana, Rory Scott McFarland of Boulder, Palmer Reid Long Jr. of Shreveport, Laura Long Lubin of Los Angeles, Mr. and Mrs. John J. Burke of Morganton, North Carolina, Clark Bason of North Hollywood, California, W.H. Bason, Jr. of Martinsville, Virginia, Sally Bason and Sarah Bason of Reidsville, North Carolina, Mrs. William Bason of St. Mary's, Georgia, Mr. and Mrs. John J. Burke, Jr. of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Carolyn Cumming of Bethesda, Maryland. He was preceded in death by his parents, Huey Pierce Long and Rose McConnell Long.
Visitation will be at First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, May 13, at 10 a.m. until religious services at noon, with the Reverend Chris Andrews officiating. Burial services will be held at Roselawn Memorial Park, 4045 North Street, Baton Rouge.
Pallbearers will be: Russell Long Mosely, Kirk Meredith Mosely, Douglas Wofford, Florent Hardy, Jr., Jeremy Snider, C. Kris Kirkpatrick, and Henry Heltz. Honorary pallbearers will be: John Burke, John Burke, Jr., William H. Bason, Clark Bason, Doyle Berry, Kyle France, Harvey H. Posner, Joe Rault, James Comiskey, William H. Wright, Jr. and William Dugan.
Memorial donations may be made to: LSU Foundation, 3838 West Lakeshore Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808; Parkinson's Action Network, 1000 Vermont Avenue, Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20005; and First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge, 930 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802.