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Francis W. Sargent: Wikis


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Francis William Sargent

In office
January 22, 1969 – January 2, 1975
Lieutenant Donald R. Dwight
Preceded by John A. Volpe
Succeeded by Michael S. Dukakis

In office
1967 – 1969
Governor John A. Volpe
Preceded by Elliot L. Richardson
Succeeded by Donald R. Dwight

Born July 29, 1915(1915-07-29)
Hamilton, Massachusetts
Died October 21, 1998 (aged 83)
Dover, Massachusetts
Political party Republican

Francis William Sargent (July 29, 1915 - October 21, 1998) was governor of Massachusetts from 1969 to 1975. Born in 1915 in Hamilton, Massachusetts, he was known for his sharp wit and self-deprecating manner. A patrician Republican politician, "Sarge" graduated from Noble & Greenough School and was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a classmate and friend of I.M. Pei, although Sargent never graduated.[1]

He was a dedicated conservationist who delivered the keynote address at MIT on the first Earth Day in 1970. He had earlier served as state commissioner of natural resources for ten years, and went on to win appointment as state Commissioner of Public Works in 1964.

He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1966, and in 1969, he became acting governor when Republican John Volpe became secretary of Transportation under President Nixon.[2] In 1970, Sargent won election in his own right, defeating Boston Mayor Kevin White.

Policies as governor

He achieved renown among conservationists and advocates of a multi-modal urban transportation system by canceling most highway construction inside Route 128, with the exception of the Northeast Expressway in 1970. Sargent became a strong advocate for changing the federal laws governing aide to states for highway construction so that more funds were available for mass transit projects such as subways and light-rail vehicles.[3]

He was governor of the Commonwealth during the strife over school busing following Judge W. Arthur Garrity's 1974 decision to desegregate Boston public schools through court-mandated redistricting of the Boston school system, including busing some students out of their neighborhoods to end a pattern of racial segregation in the schools. Sargent had previously vetoed attempts to repeal or water-down the state's Racial Imbalance Act, which prohibited state aide to racially imbalanced school districts. When Sargent called for obeying the federal court order, pro-segregation forces complained that he and his neighbors in the well-to-do suburban Boston town of Dover, Massachusetts did not have to share any of the burden of desegregating Boston schools. On occasion, groups of anti-busing protesters from the city showed up to picket his Dover home, only to find that his road had no street lights.

Other accomplishments of the Sargent administration were far reaching. Statewide laws protecting the environment and wetlands were instituted, and Sargent advocated the introduction of no-fault auto insurance. Governor Sargent was very much a man of his time. He ordered the flag to half-mast in recognition of the student killings at Kent State, was the keynote speaker at the first Earth Day at MIT, and sponsored legislation challenging the legality of the war in Vietnam. He retired from politics after his defeat for reelection by Michael Dukakis in November 1974. He died in 1998 in Dover, Massachusetts,[4] and is buried at the Highland Cemetery in Dover, Massachusetts.


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Elliot L. Richardson
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
January 5, 1967 – January 7, 1971
Succeeded by
Donald Dwight
Preceded by
John Volpe
Acting Governor of Massachusetts
January 22, 1969 – January 7, 1971
Succeeded by
Francis W. Sargent
(elected Governor)
Preceded by
Francis W. Sargent
(as Acting Governor)
Governor of Massachusetts
January 7, 1971 – January 2, 1975
Succeeded by
Michael Dukakis


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