restricted access Chapter 21. Citizen Public Service
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CHAPTER 21 Citizen Public Service Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times. —sir winston churchill, 1920 In the mornings just after the election, I did not want to get out of bed. When I did, I spent the days roaming the farm at Oakington. I did not want to go back to Washington, particularly Capitol Hill. When I returned to serve out the term, my first priority was to get everyone on my staff another job. I owed it to them. But nothing was the same. People looked at me differently, and, of course, they talked to me differently. It was depressing, very depressing.1 Over my career, I had modeled myself in many ways after the examples set by my father, MillardTydings, and my maternal grandfather, Joe Davies. Both men committed much of their lives to public service, but both were also successful lawyers in private practice. My grandfather in particular was a spectacularly successful trial and corporate lawyer. Early in my own career, my father cautioned me that when you run for public office, you can sometimes get out in front of issues that prove to be unpopular, and, before you know it, you are suddenly out of a job. He said that such a circumstance is when it is good to have a law practice to support your family.2 1. On December 29, 1970, seventeen of my colleagues spent nearly two hours on the floor of the Senate giving me a farewell tribute I shall remember for the rest of my life. Walter Mondale, John McClellan, Ralph Yarborough of Texas, J. William Fulbright, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, and others spoke. Perhaps the highest compliment came from Sam Ervin, the North Carolina conservative with whom I had done battle on many an issue. “Joe Tydings is a hard fighter and no one in the Senate can testify to that more than I,” Ervin said. “He has a quality that I regret to say is in short supply, and that is courage. He is a gentleman and a worthy opponent. I deeply regret to see him depart.” “Tributes to the Honorable Joseph D. Tydings of Maryland in the United States Senate, upon the Occasion of His Retirement from the Senate,” 91st Cong., 2nd sess., S. Doc. No. 91–126 (January 3, 1971). 2. When I served in the Maryland House of Delegates, annual compensation was about $1,800, and more than a third of the legislators were lawyers. 325 CITIZEN PUBLIC SERVICE I found myself in just that situation in 1971. As I gradually got over my reelection loss, I returned to the practice of law but decided against rejoiningTydings & Rosenberg, the old family firm in Baltimore. Instead, I joined Joe Danzansky’s successful Washington law firm as a named partner.3 Joe had been a big supporter of mine, and his firm represented the Giant Food supermarket company and a great many prominent Washington development and building firms. I was asked to represent many of these major firms that were parties in a class-action antitrust case brought against the gypsum industry in San Francisco. It was not long before my law practice began to take off. I was fortunate in becoming lead counsel in a number of major class-action cases, which resulted in verdicts and settlements for our clients and the classes that were represented. • • • In the years since I left elective office, I have been fortunate to be able to balance my career as a lawyer by accepting a variety of requests to provide volunteer public services. I was elected a trustee for the McDonogh School in Baltimore, where I had graduated from high school in 1945. When I left the Senate, the Vietnam War was still raging and that controversy made it almost impossible to recruit young male students to a military school. The idea of opening the school to female students had come up in the past, but the decision had always been postponed. After I joined the board, however, we made the decision to begin enrolling female students, starting in 1975— arguably the best decision the McDonogh Board of Trustees ever made. McDonogh was already a very good school, but the influx of top-notch female students has helped raise the overall level of academic excellence and national standing. I was also recruited by General Bill Draper, one of the most prominent global leaders...


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