Gus Savage

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Gus Savage
Rep. Gus Savage.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byMorgan F. Murphy
Succeeded byMel Reynolds
Personal details
Born
Augustus Alexander Savage

(1925-10-30)October 30, 1925
Detroit, Michigan
DiedOctober 31, 2015(2015-10-31) (aged 90)
Olympia Fields, Illinois
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Eunice King (1946-81; her death)
ChildrenThomas James, Emma Mae
Alma materRoosevelt University
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1943–1946

Augustus Alexander "Gus" Savage (October 30, 1925 – October 31, 2015) was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Savage was born in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 and then worked as a journalist from 1954 to 1979, owning a chain of weekly community newspapers in the Chicago area.

Savage was unsuccessful in his candidacy for the House of Representatives in 1968 and 1970, losing the Democratic primary both times, but won election to the House in 1980, representing the 2nd District on Chicago's South Side for 6 terms, from January 1981 to January 1993.[2]

In 1989, Savage was accused of trying to force himself on a female Peace Corps worker in Zaire.[3] He denied the allegations and blamed them on the "racist press." The House Ethics Committee decided that the events did indeed occur,[4] but it did not take disciplinary action only because Savage wrote a letter of apology.

Savage had long been controversial even in his own district. His racially incendiary and anti-Semitic remarks frequently drew bipartisan criticism.[5][6] He never won a primary election–the real contest in this overwhelmingly Democratic district–with more than 52% of the vote, and usually faced multiple challengers. For the 1992 election, redistricting pushed his district further into Chicago's south suburbs, territory that Savage did not know and that did not know him. He faced a rematch with Mel Reynolds, who had challenged him in the 1988 and 1990[2] primaries. Savage claimed that "racist Jews" were donating to Reynolds, while Reynolds claimed that Savage was involved in a drive-by shooting that injured him. Although Savage accused Reynolds of staging the shooting,[7] he lost the 1992 election to Reynolds by a margin of 63%-37% after voters in the suburban portion of the district voted overwhelmingly for Reynolds.[8]

In one of his final acts as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds, excavation and construction at the site of the African Burial Ground in New York City was temporarily halted in 1992, pending further evaluation by the General Services Administration, after Savage was able to leverage his reputation as a national political figure to bring attention to the more controversial aspects of the project.[9]

Savage died on October 31, 2015, one day after his 90th birthday, which he celebrated with his closest friends and family. He is survived by his son Thomas Savage, daughter, Dr. Emma Savage, and grandchildren Thomas Savage Jr., Chyella McBride, and Alexandria Savage.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SAVAGE, Gus". house.gov. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Schmidt, William E. (March 21, 1990). "Rep. Savage Claims Victory in Illinois". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  3. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/20/us/lawmaker-is-accused-of-sexual-impropriety.html
  4. ^ Holmes, Steven A. (February 3, 1990). "Panel Is Critical Of Representative". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Savage, Gus". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  6. ^ "Colleague Denounces Comments By Illinois Congressman as Bigoted". New York Times. 1990-03-28.
  7. ^ Wilkerson, Isabel (March 14, 1992). "Gunshots Fired at Congressional Candidate in Bitter Chicago Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  8. ^ "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Primaries; Brown and Tsongas Search For Victory in Connecticut". New York Times. 1992-03-19.
  9. ^ Rothstein, Edward (25 February 2010). "A Burial and Its Dead Are Given Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  10. ^ Chicago Tribune (31 October 2015). "Gus Savage, controversial former congressman, dies at 90". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 1 November 2015.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Morgan F. Murphy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 2nd congressional district

1981–1993
Succeeded by
Mel Reynolds