Teno Roncalio

Teno Roncalio
Teno Roncalio 95th Congress 1977.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wyoming's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
Preceded byWilliam Henry Harrison
Succeeded byWilliam Henry Harrison
In office
January 3, 1971 – December 30, 1978
Preceded byJohn S. Wold
Succeeded byDick Cheney
Personal details
Born
Celeste Domenico Roncaglio

(1916-03-23)March 23, 1916
Rock Springs, Wyoming, U.S.
DiedMarch 30, 2003(2003-03-30) (aged 87)
Cheyenne, Wyoming, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Cecilia Waters Domenico
Children6
MotherErnesta Roncalio
FatherFrank Roncalio
EducationUniversity of Wyoming
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1942–1945
Unit18th Infantry Regiment
AwardsSilver Star

Teno Domenico Roncalio (March 23, 1916 – March 30, 2003), born Celeste Domenico Roncaglio, was an American politician and writer who served in the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat. He is currently the last Democrat to have represented Wyoming in the House.[1]

Roncalio held positions in environmental committees during John F. Kennedy's administration and in the 1980s. During his tenure in the House of Representatives he supported multiple environmental bills and was a staunch opponent of American involvement in the Vietnam War. After leaving the House of Representatives he remained active in politics and helped some of the remaining successful campaigns of the Wyoming Democratic Party before his death.

Life

Early life

Celeste Domenico Roncaglio was born on March 23, 1916, in Rock Springs, Wyoming to Frank and Ernesta Roncalio, Italians who had immigrated to the United States in 1903.[2] His family later removed the G in their last name; he was known by the diminutive "Celestino", so was given the nickname "Tino" as a child, which later became Teno.[3] In 1933 he earned his barber's license and after high school he worked as a reporter for the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner.[4] He enlisted into the army following Pearl Harbor and during World War II he fought at the Battle of Gela and was later awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in the Normandy invasion on Omaha Beach.[5]

In 1940 he started editing the Wyoming Collegiate features which were published by the Casper Tribune-Herald newspaper.[6] While in college he was elected as president of the student body, joined the Young Democrats, and Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney offered him a job in Washington, D.C.[7] In 1947 he graduated from the University of Wyoming with a law degree.[8]

Politics

In 1950 he began working as editor of the Wyoming Labor Journal. He served as the prosecuting attorney for Laramie County from 1950 to 1956. In 1957 he was elected as chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party. Later that year Governor Milward Simpson proposed a civil rights bill that Roncalio had drafted after seeing a black couple being removed from a restaurant.[9] He also served as a delegate to the 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968 Democratic National Conventions. In 1958 it was speculated that he might be a possible Attorney General appointee, but on December 3, 1958 he stated that he did not want to be appointed to the office.[10]

As Chairman of the Wyoming delegation to the 1960 Convention, he cast the fifteen votes which gave John F. Kennedy the minimum amount needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination.[11] Following Senator-elect Edwin Keith Thomson's death Kennedy asked Governor John J. Hickey to appoint Roncalio to fill the Senate vacancy, but he chose to instead appoint himself.[12] Kennedy later appointed him as chairman of the International Joint Commission on Water Rights between the U.S. and Canada in 1961 and served until 1964.[13]

House

1965–1967

On April 28, 1964, he announced that he would run for the Democratic nomination for Wyoming's at-large congressional seat and in the general election he narrowly defeated incumbent Representative William Henry Harrison with the coattail effect of President Lyndon B. Johnson's victory in Wyoming during the presidential election helping him.[14]

Upon taking office he praised President Johnson for his state of the union speech and called it the "20th century restatement of the constitutional principles on which this nation is founded".[15] During the 89th session he served on the Interior and Veterans Affairs committees.[16] On June 15, 1966 he formally announced that he would run for Senate instead of seeking reelection, but was defeated by Governor Clifford P. Hansen.[17]

Interlude

Snake River Canyon

After losing the Senate election Roncalio filed multiple affidavits for land claims around the Snake River and it was publicly revealed in 1972 that his land claims were estimated to hold $7 billion worth of gold.[18]

In 1967 he was asked to run for the House again in the 1968 election, but chose not to.[19] During the 1968 Democratic presidential primaries he supported Senator Robert F. Kennedy and was a member of his staff. When Roncalio heard about Robert Kennedy's assassination he stated that "I can't think of anything appropriate newsworthy or decent to say".[20] After Kennedy's death he supported the anti-Humphrey movement at the national convention.[21][22][23] In April 1969 William A. Norris Jr., Wyoming's Democratic national committeeman, announced that he would resign and on May 5, 1969, Roncalio was selected to replace him by acclamation after Joe Stewart, the only other candidate, withdrew two days before.[24][25]

1971–1978

In 1969 he stated that he would not run against incumbent Senator Gale W. McGee in the Democratic primary and stated that he would either run for governor or house.[26] On June 23, 1970, he announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Wyoming's at-large House seat. In the primary he easily defeated state representative and future governor Edgar Herschler and in the general election narrowly defeated Harry Roberts by 608 votes.[27]

Although he did not endorse him Roncalio stated that Senator Edmund Muskie was the most balanced candidate during the 1972 Democratic presidential primaries, but later voted for George McGovern at the national convention in Miami Beach, Florida.[28][29] Roncalio stated throughout 1971 that he would not run against Clifford P. Hansen for Senate again and on July 20, 1972 he filed to run for reelection and was reelected by a similar margin in the general election against Bill Kidd.[30][31] On June 28, 1974 he announced that he would seek another term and defeated state senator Thomas F. Stroock by a wide margin.[32] He was reelected in 1976 after defeating Larry J. Hart.

During the Watergate investigation he remained uncommitted until after the "smoking gun" tape was released and supported his impeachment.[33] He stated that an impeachment trial should happen after a new vice president was confirmed after Spiro Agnew's resignation and in 1973 he voted in favor of House Minority Leader Gerald Ford's appointment as vice president.[34][35] Following Nixon's resignation and Ford's accession to the presidency Roncalio voted in favor of Nelson Rockefeller's appointment as vice president.[36]

On September 17, 1977, he announced that he would not run for reelection while at a University of Wyoming football game and stated that he would not run for governor giving his support to former state representative Edgar Herschler. In the 1978 election former White House Chief of Staff Dick Cheney easily won to succeed Roncalio and Roncalio resigned early on December 30, 1978.[37][38]

Later life

He returned to Wyoming, where he served as Special Master in Wyoming's Big Horn adjudication of Indian Water Rights until 1982. In 1980 he endorsed Jim Rogers' house campaign, but he was defeated in a landslide by Dick Cheney and in 1982 endorsed Rodger McDaniel's unsuccessful Senate campaign.[39][40] In 1986 he served as co-chair of Kathy Karpan's 1986 Secretary of State campaign and in 1990 he donated $1,000 to Pete Maxfield's unsuccessful House campaign against Craig L. Thomas.[41][42]

In 1980 he explored for gold around Snake River in Teton county.[43] In 2002 the post office in Rock Springs, Wyoming was named in his honor.[44] On March 30, 2003 Roncalio died of congestive heart failure at the Life Care Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming and was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery. Governor Dave Freudenthal, former Governor Mike Sullivan, Senator Craig L. Thomas, State Chief Justice William U. Hill, former Secretary of State Kathy Karpan, and other Wyoming political figures attended his funeral and a letter from Senator Ted Kennedy was read at it.[45]

Political positions

Domestic

In 1965 he introduced legislation to extend the National Wool Act of 1954 through December 1972 in the House alongside Senator Gale McGee who introduced it in the Senate.[46] In 1965 he introduced a bill that would have repealed Section 14B of the Taft–Hartley Act that prevents unions from negotiating contracts or legally binding documents requiring companies to fire workers who refuse to join the union, but it failed.[47] In 1966 he proposed that every window on commercial airplanes should be turned into emergency exits and attempted to have the Federal Aviation Agency support his idea, but he was unsuccessful.[48]

In July 1974 he voted for an amendment that would prevent the use of federal funds for abortions, but it was defeated with two hundred forty seven against and one hundred twenty three in favor.[49]

Amendments

In 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson suggested during his state of the union address that Congress should pass a constitutional amendment giving members of the House of Representatives four-year terms instead of the current two years and Roncalio supported the idea, but the constitutional amendment was unsuccessful.[50]

In 1966 he introduced a resolution calling for the support of a constitutional amendment to lower the voting age.[51] Although the resolution did not lead to a constitutional amendment Roncalio would later support the 26th amendment when he returned to the House of Representatives in 1971.[52]

Environmental

In 1965 he started efforts to have the Agate Fossil Beds established as a protected landscape, but was unsuccessful although they would be recognized as such in 1997.[53] In 1972 he helped in the establishment of Fossil Butte National Monument as a protected landscape.[54] In 1973 he successfully defeated efforts to use underground nuclear blasts to produce natural gas.[55]

Foreign

In 1965 he supported a bill created by Representative Omar Burleson that would reduce the United States' importation of oil from 2,200,000 barrels by 375,000 barrels daily and increase domestic production of oil.[56] In 1966 he supported an effort to remove funding for the House Un-American Activities Committee and created a resolution demanding that France pay back its $6 billion war debts.[57][58]

Vietnam War

On February 12, 1965, Roncalio stated that the United States should continue its intervention in Vietnam despite threats by China to intervene and on April 5, 1965, supported an appropriations bill for the funding of a new American Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam to show that the United States would continue its involvement in the area.[59][60]

However, when he returned to the House of Representatives in the 1970s he was staunchly against the Vietnam War. In 1969 he criticized Richard Nixon's Peace with Honor plan as a "phony promise" and that the United States had failed in Vietnam and should withdraw its soldiers.[61] On November 10, 1971 he voted for a budget amendment that would have halted all defense spending by November 15 stating that he would not vote for any defense spending until a Vietnam withdrawal date was set, but it was defeated with three hundred fifty six against.[62] In February 1971 he was one of ninety nine to vote against a two-year extension to the draft, but it was passed with two hundred ninety three in favor.[63]

Electoral history

Teno Roncalio electoral history
1964 Wyoming at-large Congressional District Democratic primary
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticTeno Roncalio29,86070.26%
DemocraticHepburn T. Armstrong9,37122.05%
DemocraticS. W. Moyle2,0804.89%
DemocraticGeorge W.K. Posvar1,1882.80%
Total votes42,499100.00%
1964 Wyoming at-large Congressional District election
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticTeno Roncalio70,69350.79%+12.17%
RepublicanWilliam Henry Harrison (incumbent)68,48249.21%-12.17%
Total votes139,175100.00%
1966 Wyoming Senate election
PartyCandidateVotes%±
RepublicanClifford Hansen63,54851.80%-6.04%
DemocraticTeno Roncalio59,14148.20%+6.04%
Total votes122,689100.00%
1970 Wyoming at-large Congressional District Democratic primary
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticTeno Roncalio26,30966.36%
DemocraticEdgar Herschler11,23828.34%
DemocraticGeorge W.K. Posvar2,1025.30%
Total votes39,649100.00%
1970 Wyoming at-large Congressional District election
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticTeno Roncalio58,45650.26%+13.00%
RepublicanHarry Roberts57,84849.74%-13.00%
Total votes116,304100.00%
1972 Wyoming at-large Congressional District election
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticTeno Roncalio (incumbent)75,63251.70%+1.44%
RepublicanBill Kidd70,66748.30%-1.44%
Total votes146,299100.00%
1974 Wyoming at-large Congressional District election
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticTeno Roncalio (incumbent)69,43454.70%+3.00%
RepublicanThomas F. Stroock57,49945.30%-3.00%
Total votes126,933100.00%
1976 Wyoming at-large Congressional District Democratic primary
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticTeno Roncalio (incumbent)41,39385.98%
DemocraticAl Hamburg6,75114.02%
Total votes48,144100.00%
1976 Wyoming at-large Congressional District election
PartyCandidateVotes%±
DemocraticTeno Roncalio (incumbent)85,72156.44%+1.74%
RepublicanLarry J. Hart66,14743.56%-1.74%
Total votes151,868100.00%

References

  1. ^ Barron, Joan (November 19, 2014). "From Bootblack to Congressman: the Career of Teno Roncalio". Wyoming State Historical Society.
  2. ^ "Teno Recalls Early Life in Rock Springs". Casper Star-Tribune. 4 November 1970. p. 21. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "From Bootblack to Congressman: the Career of Teno Roncalio". 19 November 2014. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Teno Roncalio: The Congressman from Rock Springs". Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner. 5 November 2019. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Tomorrow's Yesterday TENO RONCALIO - U. S. CONGRESSMAN FROM WYOMING".
  6. ^ "Tribune-Herald Will Offer New Service". Casper Star-Tribune. 26 September 1940. p. 7. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Former Representative Roncalio dies at 87". The Billings Gazette. 2 April 2003. p. 5. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Teno Roncalio". The Manhattan Mercury. 22 April 2003. p. 14. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ McDaniel, Rodger (January 1, 2018). The Man in the Arena. University of Nebraska Press. p. 140. ISBN 9781640120013 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "Roncalio Rejects Attorney's Post". The Billings Gazette. 5 December 1958. p. 25. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Bradlee, Ben (May 31, 2011). A Good Life. Simon and Schuster. p. 198. ISBN 9781439128855 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ "Roncalio Gets Support Here in Bid for U.S. Senate". Casper Star-Tribune. 18 December 1960. p. 26. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Roncalio: He was in combat in seven World War II campaigns". Casper Star-Tribune. 2 April 2003. p. 7. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Teno Roncalio Throws His Hat In The Ring". The Jackson Hole Guide. 30 April 1964. p. 13. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "Teno Roncalio Throws His Hat In The Ring". Casper Star-Tribune. 5 January 1965. p. 1. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Roncalio Gets Interior Post". Casper Star-Tribune. 19 January 1965. p. 12. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Rep. Roncalio Fomrally Bids For Senate". Casper Star-Tribune. 16 June 1966. p. 1. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Teno's gold land said worth $7 billion". The Billings Gazette. 6 October 1972. p. 5. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "Weekly Paper Endorses Teno". Casper Star-Tribune. 13 December 1967. p. 2. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "State Leaders Shocked by News Kennedy Shot". Casper Star-Tribune. 5 June 1968. p. 8. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "Roncalio Sees Kennedy Victory". The Billings Gazette. 28 March 1968. p. 23. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "State Leaders Are Surprised And Shocked". Casper Star-Tribune. 1 April 1968. p. 1. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ "Vote Ruffs Delegates' Feathers". Casper Star-Tribune. 29 August 1968. p. 12. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ "Roncalio Appears To Have Demo Job". Casper Star-Tribune. 3 May 1969. p. 1. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ "Wyoming Demos Select Roncalio for Top Post". The Missoulian. 5 May 1969. p. 6. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ "Roncalio Won't Seek Senate Post". The Billings Gazette. 1 October 1969. p. 19. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ "Roncalio to Seek House Nomination". Casper Star-Tribune. 24 June 1970. p. 1. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ "Roncalio to Seek House Nomination". Casper Star-Tribune. 23 January 1972. p. 2. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ "Teno backed McGovern". Casper Star-Tribune. 16 July 1972. p. 1. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ "Teno Reaffirms Not for Senate". Casper Star-Tribune. 16 October 1971. p. 2. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ "Teno files for third". Jackson Hole News. 20 July 1972. p. 8. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ "Teno asks fourth term in state's House seat". Casper Star-Tribune. 29 June 1974. p. 1. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ "Delegation stays mum". Casper Star-Tribune. 29 July 1974. p. 2. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  34. ^ "Roncalio reconsiders impeachment viewpoint". Casper Star-Tribune. 23 October 1973. p. 11. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  35. ^ "TO PASS H. RES. 735, CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF GERALD R. FORD TO BE VICE-PRESIDENT". 6 December 1973. Archived from the original on 26 October 2019.
  36. ^ "TO AGREE TO H. RES. 1511, CONFIRMING NELSON A. ROCKEFELLER AS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES". 19 December 1974. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019.
  37. ^ "Teno calls it curtains". Casper Star-Tribune. 20 September 1977. p. 4. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  38. ^ "Teno Roncalio explains his reasons for quitting". The Jackson Hole Guide. 27 October 1977. p. 8. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  39. ^ "Roncalio endorses Rogers". Casper Star-Tribune. 3 November 1990. p. 5. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  40. ^ "Roncalio endorses ex-aide McDaniel for U.S. Senate seat". Casper Star-Tribune. 28 October 1982. p. 21. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  41. ^ "Jensen to co-chair Karpan campaign". The Jackson Hole Guide. 3 July 1986. p. 15. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ "Maxfield". Casper Star-Tribune. 24 July 1990. p. 12. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  43. ^ "All that glitters". Jackson Hole News. 6 February 1980. p. 1. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  44. ^ "'Teno' post office to be dedicated". Casper Star-Tribune. 6 December 2002. p. 17. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  45. ^ "Roncalio recalled as warm, friendly". The Billings Gazette. 6 April 2003. p. 20. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  46. ^ "National Wool Act Extension Sought by Two". The Missoulian. 8 February 1965. p. 13. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  47. ^ "Teno Asking Repeal on Right-to-Work". Casper Star-Tribune. 8 April 1965. p. 2. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  48. ^ "Roncalio Proposal Gets Wide Response". The Billings Gazette. 10 January 1966. p. 8. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  49. ^ "Roncalio voted "yea."". Casper Star-Tribune. 9 July 1974. p. 5. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  50. ^ "Roncalio Is Pleased With 4-Year Plan". Casper Star-Tribune. 13 January 1966. p. 13. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  51. ^ "Roncalio Would Lower Voting Age". The Billings Gazette. 16 January 1966. p. 8. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  52. ^ "House of Representatives Vote On 26th Amendment". March 23, 1971. Archived from the original on January 20, 2020.
  53. ^ "Teno Urges Agate Beds Monument". Casper Morning Star. 5 March 1965. p. 1. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  54. ^ Tanner, Russell (January 1, 2008). Rock Springs. Wyoming. Legislature. Senate. p. 109. ISBN 9780738556420 – via Google Books.
  55. ^ "Former Congressman Teno Roncalio dies at 87". Casper Star-Tribune. 2 April 2003. p. 1. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  56. ^ "Roncalio Pushes Curb on Petroleum Imports". Casper Morning Star. 3 March 1965. p. 3. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  57. ^ "Hathaway Hits Roncalio Record". Casper Morning Star. 10 March 1965. p. 5. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  58. ^ "Roncalio Wants France to Pay". The Billings Gazette. 2 April 1965. p. 36. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  59. ^ "Roncalio Says U.S. Must Remain in Viet". The Billings Gazette. 14 February 1965. p. 17. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  60. ^ "Teno Supports Viet Nam Funds". Casper Star-Tribune. 7 April 1965. p. 3. Archived from the original on 12 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  61. ^ "Roncalio Says Regime to Cut Back Farm Subsidies". Casper Star-Tribune. 16 November 1969. p. 5. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  62. ^ "Kennedy Hits Teno's Voting". Casper Star-Tribune. 22 February 1972. p. 2. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  63. ^ "Calley Conviction Affected House Decision on Draft?". The Billings Gazette. 3 April 1971. p. 17. Archived from the original on 6 January 2020 – via Newspapers.com.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Henry Harrison (R)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
Succeeded by
William Henry Harrison (R)
Preceded by
John S. Wold (R)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1971 – December 30, 1978
Succeeded by
Dick Cheney (R)
Other Languages