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Ed Derwinski


In office
March 15, 1989 – September 26, 1992
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by Jesse Brown

In office
March 24, 1987 – January 21, 1989
Preceded by William Schneider, Jr.
Succeeded by Reginald Bartholomew

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1983
Preceded by William E. McVey
Succeeded by George M. O'Brien

Born September 15, 1926 (1926-09-15) (age 83)
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Republican
Alma mater Loyola University Chicago
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Unit Infantry
Battles/wars World War II

Edward Joseph Derwinski (born September 15, 1926) is an American politician who served as the first Cabinet-level United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, serving under President George H. W. Bush from March 15, 1989 to September 26, 1992. He previously served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1959 to 1983, representing south and southwest suburbs of Chicago.

Contents

Member of the House of Representatives

Derwinski served in the United States Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II and in the postwar U.S. occupation of Japan. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 1951. He is a celebrated member of Alpha Delta Gamma National Fraternity. In 1957 he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served one term before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1958. He served 12 terms as a Republican representative from the 4th District of Illinois, a suburban region south and west of Chicago, eventually becoming ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. He also served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly 1971-1972 and as chairman of the U.S. delegation to the Interparliamentary Union from 1970-1972 and 1978-1980.

First Cabinet-level Secretary of Veterans Affairs

A Democratic redistricting plan after the 1980 Census carved up the 4th District, with only about 15% of its territory being retained and added to various territory from other districts; Derwinski and fellow Republican congressman George M. O'Brien were placed in the same district, and O'Brien won the 1982 primary on the strength of having more of his previous district included in the new configuration. After Derwinski's loss, President Ronald Reagan appointed him Counselor to the State Department. In 1987, Reagan appointed him Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology, where he served until the end of Reagan's term, shortly after which he was selected to head the VA.

Advocacy

A Polish American, Derwinski was noted for his efforts on behalf of Eastern Europe throughout his career. Notably, he aided in the rehabilitation of the Serbian Royalist general Draža Mihailović. Mihailović had received the Legion of Merit for his resistance efforts against the Axis—but this information was marked "secret" at the behest of the State Department so as not to harm relations with Marshal Tito, the current ruler of Yugoslavia in 1967. Tito was Mihailović's rival in World War II, and after Tito's forces emerged triumphant, Mihailović was accused of collaboration with the Nazis and executed. At the urging of airmen involved in Operation Halyard who had been saved by Mihailović's forces and had heard rumors of the award to him, Derwinski insisted that the State Department make the text of President Harry S. Truman's citation public, confirming that Mihailović had not collaborated.[1]

Derwinski served as head of "Ethnic Americans for Dole/Kemp" during the 1996 presidential election.

Post-politics

Derwinski currently resides in Glen Ellyn, Illinois with his wife, the former Bonita Hickey. He has two adult children from his first marriage to Patricia Derwinski, Maureen and Michael.

References

  1. ^ Freeman, Gregory A. (September 2007). The Forgotten 500. 80 Strand, London: Penguin Books. pp. 271. ISBN 978-0-451-22212-1.  
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William E. McVey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 4th congressional district

January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1983
Succeeded by
George M. O'Brien
Government offices
Preceded by
William Schneider, Jr.
Under Secretaries of State for International Security Affairs
March 24, 1987 – January 21, 1989
Succeeded by
Reginald Bartholomew
Preceded by
none
United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Served under: George H. W. Bush

March 15, 1989 – September 26, 1992
Succeeded by
Jesse Brown
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Simple English

Ed Derwinski

In office
March 15, 1989 – September 26, 1992
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by Jesse Brown

Under Secretaries of State for International Security Affairs
In office
March 24, 1987 – January 21, 1989
Preceded by William Schneider, Jr.
Succeeded by Reginald Bartholomew

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's Illinois's 4th congressional district district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1983
Preceded by William E. McVey
Succeeded by George M. O'Brien

Born September 15, 1926 (1926-09-15) (age 84)
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Republican
Alma mater Loyola University Chicago
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Unit Infantry
Battles/wars World War II

Edward Joseph Derwinski (born September 15, 1926) is an American politician who served as the first Cabinet-level United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, serving under President George H. W. Bush from March 15, 1989, to September 26, 1992. Before that, he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1959 to 1983, representing the south and southwest suburbs of Chicago.

Politics

Derwinski served in the United States Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II and in the postwar U.S. occupation of Japan. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 1951. He is a member of the Alpha Delta Gamma Fraternity. In 1957 he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served one term before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1958. He served 12 terms as a Republican representative from the 4th District of Illinois, a suburban region south and west of Chicago, eventually becoming the ranking member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. He also served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1971-1972 and as chairman of the U.S. delegation to the Interparliamentary Union from 1970-1972 and 1978-1980.

A Democratic redistricting plan after the 1980 Census split up the 4th District, with only about 15% of its area remaining and added to various areas from other districts; Derwinski and Republican congressman George M. O'Brien were placed in the same district, and O'Brien won the 1982 primary on the strength of having more of his previous district included in the new change. After Derwinski's loss, President Ronald Reagan picked him to be Counselor to the State Department. In 1987, Reagan picked him to be Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology, where he served until the end of Reagan's term. Not long after that, he was picked by George H.W. Bush to head the VA.

Personal Life

Derwinski lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois with his wife, the former Bonita Hickey. He has two adult children from his first marriage to Patricia Derwinski, Maureen and Michael.


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