Monday, 1 September 2008

John Anthony Volpe

John Anthony Volpe - Governor of Massachusetts; US Ambassador to Italy; US Secretary of Transportation; President Associated General Contractors of America

John Anthony Volpe (December 8, 1908 - November 11, 1994) was a Governor of Massachusetts and a U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

Volpe was born in 1908 in Wakefield, Massachusetts.[1] He was the son of Italian immigrants Vito and Filomena (Benedetto), who had come from Abruzzo to Boston's North End in 1905; his father was in the construction business. On June 18, 1934, Volpe married Jennie Benedetto, with whom he had two children, John, Jr. and Jean (m. Rotondi).

Volpe attended Wentworth Institute in Boston and entered the construction business, building his own firm in 1930. During World War II, he volunteered to serve stateside as a United States Navy Seabees training officer. In 1953, he was appointed as the Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Works, and in 1956 he was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the first Federal Highway Administrator.

He was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1960, and served from 1961 to 1963, before narrowly losing reelection in 1962 to Endicott Peabody. In 1964, he ran for Governor again and won, and was re-elected in 1966 for the first four-year term in Massachusetts history.

During his administration, Governor Volpe signed legislation to ban racial imbalances in education, reorganized the state's Board of Education, liberalized birth control laws, and increased public housing for low-income families. Governor Volpe also raised revenues by increasing the state sales tax to three percent. He served as President of the National Governor's Association from 1967 to 1968.

In 1968, Governor Volpe ran as a "favorite son" candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Following the election of Richard M. Nixon, Volpe was named Secretary of Transportation. He resigned as Governor to assume the cabinet post, and served in that position from 1969 to 1973. During his administration as Secretary of Transportation, Amtrak was created. In 1973, Volpe was nominated by President Nixon and confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Ambassador to Italy, a position he held until 1977.

Governor Volpe died in 1994, and is buried in Forest Glade Cemetery in Wakefield. The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge was named in his memory, as well as the Governor John A. Volpe Library at Wakefield High School in Wakefield.

The papers of John A. Volpe are in the Archives and Special Collections of the Northeastern University Libraries, in Boston MA.
John A. Volpe AKA John Anthony Volpe

Born: 8-Dec-1908
Birthplace: Wakefield, MA
Died: 11-Sep-1994
Location of death: Nahant, MA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Forest Glade Cemetery, Wakefield, MA

Religion: Roman Catholic
Occupation: Politician
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Twice Governor of Massachusetts

Military service: US Navy (Training officer, Seabees, 1942-46)

Father: Vito Volpe (Italian immigrant)
Mother: Filomena (Italian immigrant)
Wife: Giovaninna Benedetto ("Jennie", m. 18-Jun-1934, two children)
Son: John Volpe, Jr.
Daughter: Loretta Jean Rotondi

University: Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA

US Ambassador to Italy (1973-77)
US Secretary of Transportation (1969-73)
Governor of Massachusetts (1965-69)
Governor of Massachusetts (1961-63)
Federal Highway Administration Federal Highway Administrator (1956-57)
Massachusetts State Official Commissioner of Public Works (1953-56)
Associated General Contractors of America President (1960s)
Knights of Columbus
Knights of Malta
Sons of Italy
Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
Italian Ancestry
The signal accomplishments of Volpe's second term as governor were the passage of a 3% sales tax and the amendment of the state constitution to make the governor's term four years long instead of two years. Riding the success of his tax program, with its new jobs and new revenues, Volpe was easily re-elected in 1966, to become Massachusetts' first four-year governor.

In 1968, Spiro Agnew was selected over Volpe as Richard Nixon's running mate. After the election, he was offered the position of Secretary of Transportation. Volpe took the position in 1969, and went on to champion highway safety and the continuing expansion of the federal interstate system he had begun under Eisenhower.

Upon Nixon's re-election, Volpe was offered the post of Ambassador to Italy in 1972, a position that drew on his natural affability, his boyhood language skills, and the strong ties to the Italian-American community that he had maintained throughout his entire adult life. Posted to Italy during a time of political and social upheaval there, he did much to strengthen American ties with Italy, while also weathering the international fallout from Watergate and the change of administration.

After Jimmy Carter's election, Volpe resigned his Italian post in 1977 and returned to private life. During his retirement, he continued to be involved in charitable organizations and the state GOP, particularly in the area of highway and driver safety. Volpe chaired a commission on drunk driving under President Ronald Reagan in 1982; it was his last official government role.

Volpe was a successful businessman and an accomplished public servant. Recognized by many for his sharp intellect, honesty, and loyalty, he received over 30 honorary degrees and was a member of many honorable associations, among them the Knights of Malta, the Society of American Military Engineers, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and the Sons of Italy. Volpe died on 11 Nov, 1994, survived by his wife, Jennie, and two children. (Proof Positive)
"Wotta Knight," New York Daily News, 1/9/83 (Alexander Haig and Rev. Francis Haig). (NOTE: Other Knights in key positions of power include the following:[...]John Volpe (Amb. Italy, P-2).
Governor John A. Volpe

Historical Collection
Container List

Box 6
1960 Campaign Finances (continued) Folder
6-47 Knights of Malta 6-48 Misc. "K" 1960

Box 60
1965-1968 Gubernatorial Office Files (continued) Folder
60-33 Malta, Military Order of, 1968

Box 102
General Subject Files (continued) Folder
Series III Memorabilia, Artifacts and Photographs Citations, Membership Certificates, etc.
102-82 Knights of Malta, 35th Annual Dinner Meeting, January 15, 1962 (Proof Positive II)
Social Network Diagram:

Italy 1973-1976

* Goulden,J. The Superlawyers. 1972 (245, 249)
* Greider,W. Who Will Tell the People. 1993 (111)
* Lernoux,P. In Banks We Trust. 1984 (190)
* Lundberg,F. The Rich and the Super-Rich. 1969 (592)
* Mother Jones 1983-07 (23)
* Parapolitics/USA 1982-03-31 (33)
* Pepper,W. Orders to Kill. 1995 (114)
* Schorr,D. Clearing the Air. 1978 (194)
* State Dept. United States Chiefs of Mission 1778-1973. 1973 (84)
* Summers,A. The Arrogance of Power. 2000 (397)
* Tosches,N. Power on Earth. 1986 (149)
* Who's Who in America. 1976-1977
* Yallop,D. In God's Name. 1985 (149, 153)

pages cited this search: 15

No comments: