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Former Illinois Senator Charles Percy Dies at 91

Sat September 17 2011 12:02 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=47539
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“No administration by itself — one branch of government — can take this nation to war.” Percy asserting “what the founding fathers had in mind.”

Charles Harting “Chuck” Percy, born September 27, 1919, died on September 17, 2011. He is best known as Senator from Illinois from 1966 through 1985. Percy was narrowly defeated for re-election in 1984 by Democrat Rep. Paul Simon.

Chuck Percy was also president of the Bell & Howell Corporation from 1949 to 1964. During this time, he led it through a 32-fold expansion of sales, 12-fold expansion of employees, while Bell & Howell went public on the New York Stock Exchange.

While senator from Illinois, Percy concentrated on business and foreign relations.

In the late 1950s, Percy decided to enter politics. With the encouragement of then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Percy helped write Decisions for a Better America, which proposed a set of long-range goals for the Republican Party. Percy was appointed the chair of the platform committee at the 1960 Republican National Convention. He was considered to be a liberal Republican, among a group from the Northeast and Midwest.


Percy first entered electoral politics with a run for governor of Illinois in 1964, which he narrowly lost to Democratic incumbent Otto Kerner. During his gubernatorial campaign, Percy reluctantly endorsed Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, his future Senate colleague, who fared poorly in Illinois. He upset incumbent Democratic senator Paul Douglas in 1966 with 56% of the vote.

Before Percy’s successful election as senator and a day less than 45 years ago, one of the senator’s twin daughters, Valerie Percy, 21, was killed in her bed on Sept. 18, 1966, in the family’s estate on Lake Michigan in Kenilworth. The murder has not been solved, and is still an open case with the Kenilworth Police Department.

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