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Paul William Cronin (March 14, 1938 - April 5, 1997) was a one-term congressman of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts.

Cronin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 14, 1938 and graduated from Boston University in 1962 and the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1969. He served as an Andover, Massachusetts selectman, and member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1967-1969. Before his election to Congress, he also served as a member of Rep. F. Bradford Morse's Congressional Staff, and as a delegate to Republican National Conventions in both 1968 and 1972.

In 1972, he was elected as a Republican to the Ninety-third Congress, defeating future US Senator and Presidential candidate John Kerry, who had moved to the Fifth District to seek the seat after Rep. Morse resigned to take a post at the United Nations. Cronin's victory was a huge upset against the anti-war candidate Kerry. He had trailed at one point by more than 20%, and his victory was often accredited to harsh attacks by The Lowell Sun, which attacked Kerry for being an elitist carpetbagger and for his questioning of the patriotism of those who supported the war. As a result of his victory, Cronin shares with George W. Bush the distinction of defeating Kerry in an election.

In the House, Cronin served on the Interior Committee, and began a process that led ultimately to the creation, years later, of an urban park in Lowell. A businessman and non-ideologue at heart, Cronin placed himself in the moderate wing of his party.

In 1974, his first bid for re-election, Cronin faced an assertive challenge from a Lowell-based county commissioner Paul Tsongas, who seized on President Nixon's impeachment troubles in what turned out to be a bad year, electorally, for Republicans nationwide. Tsongas demanded that Cronin release his income tax returns, but the congressman declined; Cronin also declined to debate Tsongas. Tsongas also made political hay over the failure of a technology firm, Mostek, to locate a facility in Lowell after Cronin had promised the firm would do so. A memorable Tsongas radio ad featured echoing footsteps in an empty building. In the November election, Tsongas won 61% of the vote --and went on to become a US Senator from Massachusetts and a candidate for President of the United States in 1992.

Cronin later in life would serve a number of positions at MassPort, and he unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for governor against William Weld. In 1992, Cronin won the Republican nomination to regain his old seat against a weak incumbent Chester G. Atkins. However, Atkins, who had been caught up in the House check-kiting scandal, would be defeated in the primary by an up and coming Democratic star, Martin T. Meehan, who in turn would handily defeat Cronin in the General Election. Cronin died on on April 5, 1997, from a brain tumor at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Andover.

Source:

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Frank Bradford Morse
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

1973 – 1975
Succeeded by
Paul E. Tsongas
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