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About Harry F. Byrd, Jr.

Former United States Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. spent 36 years in elected public office – 18 years in the Virginia State Senate (1948-1965) and another 18 years in the United States Senate (1965-1983).

At 16, Senator Byrd entered the Virginia Military Institute and later attended the University of Virginia to study government. Born into a political family --- his father having been Governor of Virginia and a U.S. Senator --- he attended nine national political conventions, the first at age 17 (Democratic 1932) and was elected to the Virginia Senate at age 32.

During World War II, he served as executive officer of a patrol bombing squadron in the Central and Western Pacific as a lieutenant commander in the Navy.

In the U.S. Senate, Senator Byrd was active as a member of the Armed Services Committee and made fact-finding trips to the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, North Africa, and Vietnam. Senator Byrd also served on the Finance Committee, which has primary authority for all legislation dealing with taxes, trade, and Social Security. In the 1970s, he was chairman of the Subcommittee on Taxation and Debt Management. In January 1981, he was named a member of the Joint Committee on Taxation, which advises both the Senate and House on tax matters. Additionally, Senator Byrd served as chairman of the Finance Committee on Taxation.

Senator Byrd was elected to office nine times, seven as a Democrat and twice as an Independent. He is the only person in the history of the United States Senate to be twice elected as an Independent, and in 1970, received more votes than the combined total of his two opponents - one a Democrat and one a Republican. He retired from the U.S. Senate in 1983.

In his business life, Senator Byrd was editor and publisher of The Winchester Star, Winchester and the Daily News-Record, Harrisonburg. He was an active member of the Board of Directors after his retirement in 2001 from the Daily News-Record and in 2011 from The Winchester Star.

Born December 20, 1914, he died at his home in Winchester, Virginia, July 30, 2013.