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Michael Aloysius Feighan

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 20th district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1971
Preceded by Martin L. Sweeney
Succeeded by James V. Stanton

Born February 16, 1905(1905-02-16)
Lakewood, Ohio
Died March 19, 1992 (aged Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character "{")
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Florence Feighan
Relations Ed Feighan (nephew)
Alma mater John Carroll University;

Princeton University; Harvard Law School

Religion Roman Catholic

Ex-Rep. Michael A. Feighan, 87; Architect of '65 Immigration Law

Michael A. Feighan, a 14-term Democratic Congressman from Ohio who was chief architect of the 1965 immigration act that abolished the system of quotas by national origin, died yesterday at a hospital in Washington. He was 87 years old and had homes in Washington and Cleveland.

He died of a brain tumor, his family said.

Tall, spare and taciturn, Mr. Feighan (pronounced FEE-an), who represented parts of Cleveland and its suburbs for 28 years in Congress until 1971, seemed an unlikely champion of the Federal Immigration Act of 1965.

The legislation, which he shaped and shepherded through in 12 weeks, overturned a rigid quota system that had allowed more immigrants from northern and western European countries than from other parts of the world. The LBJ 'Treatment'

Mr. Feighan had been regarded as a bedfellow of conservative and patriotic groups standing firmly on the status quo. But many of Mr. Feighan's constituents had Polish, Hungarian or Slovak ancestry, and Mr. Feighan was a staunch anti-Communist.

His decision to work for the bill was helped along by its powerful backer, President Lyndon B. Johnson, who put Mr. Feighan on his fabled list for "the treatment." That meant White House dinners, consultations in the Oval Office and trips on Air Force One. Mr. Feighan, who headed the Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, got the message and Mr. Johnson got his bill.

The act, which because of House protocol bore the name of Emmanuel Celler, the Brooklyn Democrat who was chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, established preferences based on such criteria as being a professional, a refugee or the relative of an American. As a result, many thousands of Hungarians fleeing the Soviet-led invasion of their country in 1956 became American citizens.

Michael Aloysius Feighan was born in Lakewood, Ohio. His father, a banker, was a former owner of the Cleveland Indians.

The younger Mr. Feighan, a 1927 graduate of Princeton University who received his bachelor of laws degree from Harvard University, began his career as one of five brothers in the Ohio law firm of Feighan, Feighan, Feighan, Feighan & Feighan. He entered the Ohio State Legislature in 1937, becoming its minority leader two years later. Election to Congress

He was elected to represent the 20th Congressional District in 1942, when Time magazine commended him as a promising new face on Capitol Hill.

He left office in January 1971 after failing to win renomination. He then turned to political consulting.

Mr. Feighan's wife of 50 years, the former Florence Mathews, died in 1980. His companion was Lelah Rodenberger.

He is survived by a son, William, of Paradise Valley, Ariz.; a daughter, Fleur Jones of Greenwich, Conn.; a sister, Anne O'Brien of Lighthouse Point, Fla., and two grandsons. A nephew, Representative Edward F. Feighan, a Democrat, has represented the 19th District from suburban Cleveland since 1983. Michael A. Feighan (February 16, 1905 – March 19, 1992) was an American politician from Lakewood, Ohio, near Cleveland. He served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, and as a Democratic Party U.S. Representative from 1943 to 1971, serving Ohio's 20th congressional district.

Originally, he was recruited by national Democrats who wanted to replace Congressman Martin L. Sweeney (D-OH), who had for eleven years held the seat representing the west side of Cleveland. They considered Sweeney to be too isolationist; for example, he had argued against enacting Lend-Lease to the United Kingdom.

After Feighan had served almost three decades in the House of Representatives, some local Democratic officials, led by Cleveland City Council President James V. Stanton, had grown tired of his leadership. Sensing that they could not beat Feighan in one election, they set up a stalking horse running a Michael Sweeney, a local lawyer with a good political name. Sweeney lost, but his vote total showed that Feighan could be vulnerable in a rematch. Two years later, in 1970, Stanton himself ran and defeated Feighan in the Democratic primary, concluding Feighan's political career.


Electoral history

Ohio's 20th congressional district: Results 1942–1968[1]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1942 Michael A. Feighan 34,462 61.81% Harry T. Marshall 14,001 25.11% Marie R. Sweeney Independent 7,289 13.07%
1944 Michael A. Feighan 75,218 75.85% A. R. McNamara 23,945 24.15%
1946 Michael A. Feighan 49,670 66.99% Walter E. Obert 24,476 33.01%
1948 Michael A. Feighan 64,241 100% no candidate
1950 Michael A. Feighan 60,565 74.21% Paul W. Cassidy 21,044 25.79%
1952 Michael A. Feighan 109,211 65.21% John H. Ferguson 58,271 34.79%
1954 Michael A. Feighan 81,304 67.66% John H. Ferguson 38,865 32.34%
1956 Michael A. Feighan 105,562 65.25% John H. Ferguson 56,209 34.75%
1958 Michael A. Feighan 113,200 79.43% Malvern E. Schultz 29,308 20.57%
1960 Michael A. Feighan 113,302 67.79% Leonard G. Richter 53,845 32.21%
1962 Michael A. Feighan 91,544 71.04% Leonard G. Richter 37,325 28.96%
1964 Michael A. Feighan 115,675 74.43% Joseph A. Cipollone 39,747 25.57%
1966 Michael A. Feighan 63,629 76.05% Clarence E. McLeod 20,034 23.95%
1968 Michael A. Feighan 72,918 72.38% J. William Petro 27,827 27.62%

See also


  1. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-08-24.  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Martin L. Sweeney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 20th congressional district

1943 – 1971
Succeeded by
James V. Stanton




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