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* Carl Curtis; Former Nebraska Senator

Obituaries

January 29, 2000

Former U.S. Sen. Carl Curtis of Nebraska, 94, staunch supporter of Richard Nixon and champion of agricultural interests. Curtis, a conservative Republican, never wavered in backing Nixon, even in the final throes of the Watergate crisis, which forced the president to resign. Curtis first won election to the House of Representatives in 1938 by campaigning against President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs, which Curtis viewed as wasteful and ridiculous. He served 16 years in the House and 24 in the Senate, retiring in 1978. Tightfisted, he voted against Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, federal aid to education, public housing and even federally funded school lunches, saying that "it didn't hurt me to walk to school carrying a lunch pail." He grew up on a farm near Minden, Neb., and became a schoolteacher and later a lawyer, beginning his political career as Kearney County attorney. He won election to that office as a Democrat, but switched parties in 1936, saying Republicans better reflected his philosophy. During his 40 years in Washington, Curtis focused on agricultural, tax and Social Security issues and considered his greatest accomplishment bringing flood control and irrigation to the Midwest. On Monday in Lincoln, Neb.

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