Senator John J. Williams (R), 1947-1971


John James Williams was born in Bayard, Delaware on May 17, 1904, the ninth of eleven children in a farming family. He attended Frankford High School and settled in nearby Millsboro where he married Elsie Steele in 1924. He served fourteen years on the Millsboro Town Council before, in 1946, Williams decided to run for the United States Senate against popular Democratic Senator James M. Tunnell. To everyone’s surprise, Williams won the 1946 election with an 11,713-vote margin.

Senator Williams worked to promote the poultry industry in Delaware, opposed government farm price support programs benefitting large cooperatives, supported reduced taxes, and suggested that the budget could be balanced with a reduction of one million federal jobs. During his 24-year career, Senator Williams served on numerous committees, including the Committee to Investigate the National Defense, the Committee on the Post Office and Civil Service, the Committee on Public Works, the Committee on the District of Columbia, the Committee on Finance, the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, and the Committee on Foreign Relations. Williams also served in a party leadership capacity, first in 1957 as a member of the Republican Policy Committee and later as the Chairman of the Republican Committee on Committees in 1969.