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Howard Joseph Samuels (December 3, 1919 Rochester, Monroe County, New York – October 26, 1984) was an American politician from New York.

Early years

He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and then joined the U.S. Army. He served as a lieutenant colonel in the Third Army under General George S. Patton. He was present during the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp in Buchenwald in 1945.

After the war, he and his brother Richard founded the Kordite Company, a firm that manufactured plastic clotheslines, brooms, plastic bags and packaging, and other plastic products such as Baggies and Hefty garbage bags. The company did very well, and Samuels became a multi-millionaire. He married Barbara J. Christie, and they had eight children: William, Carey, Catherine, Victoria, Howard, Barbara, Jacqui and Janine. He later married Antoinette Chautemps, daughter of a Prime Minister of France. They had two children Camille and Dominique.

Political life

In 1962, Samuels was among the contenders for the Democratic nomination for Governor of New York, but Robert M. Morgenthau was chosen by the state convention delegates. In 1966, the party rank and file revolted the wishes of state party leaders and nominated him over Orin D. Lehman for Lieutenant Governor of New York. The ticket, headed by gubernatorial candidate Frank D. O'Connor, was defeated by the Republican nominees, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and Lt. Gov. Malcolm Wilson.

Samuels later served as U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and in 1968 was named Director of the Small Business Administration. In 1969, he irritated many in his own party when he supported a liberal Republican, John V. Lindsay, in his successful bid for re-election as Mayor of New York City. In 1970, he challenged Arthur Goldberg, the Democratic designee for Governor, but lost narrowly in the primary election. That year his political work was interrupted when his son, Howard C. Samuels, was arrested for marijuana possession in Greenwich Village. The son was later arrested for possession of heroin and reported to have developed a heroin addiction. In 1971, Mayor Lindsay chose Samuels to be the first chairman of the city’s Off-Track Betting Corporation (OTB), a position which earned him the nickname “Howie the Horse.”

After Samuels divorced, he married Antoinette Chautemps, an economist and the daughter of Camille Chautemps, who was Premier of France during the 1930s. The couple had two children, Camille and Dominique.

In 1974, Samuels was the Democratic designee for Governor. He was challenged in the primary election by Congressman Hugh L. Carey, and despite an early lead, Samuels lost again, and Carey was subsequently elected Governor.

Samuels raised funds for Jewish causes and Democratic candidates, and worked as a management consultant. In June 1982, Samuels became Commissioner of the North American Soccer League.

On October 26, 1984, Samuels died of a heart attack at his home in New York City. His funeral was attended by many leading political figures. He received eulogies from Governor Mario M. Cuomo of New York, Senator Gary Hart of Colorado, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and his best friend Ed R. Downe. Mr. Downe has lead annual pray services with Howard's family for 25 years( 2009) in the Southampton, New York cemetery.Former New York governor Malcolm Wilson, once an opponent, remembered him as “a highly principled gentleman with a well-developed civic and social conscience.” Cuomo said that Samuels was “a gentle, compassionate man ...(who) had the instincts, talents, and compassion to have been a great governor.” “He was a better man and a visionary than a politician,” stated journalist Ken Auletta, formerly the director of Samuels’s staff.

References

Preceded by
John J. Burns
Democratic Party Nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New York
1966
Succeeded by
Basil Paterson







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