John Orlando Pastore (1907–2000) politician


The first Italian-American governor and U.S. senator, John Pastore represented the post–World War II shift in public opinion that enabled politicians of southern and eastern European descent to play a more prominent role in statewide and national politics. He was best known for his promotion of more wholesome television programming and the concept of family viewing times.
Pastore was born in 1907 to Italian immigrants in Providence, Rhode Island, where their family of seven lived in a four-room tenement apartment. He attended public schools there and graduated from Northeastern University Law School in 1931. A gifted speaker, he rose rapidly in the Democratic Party, serving in the Rhode Island house of representatives (1935–37), as assistant attorney general of Rhode Island (1937–38, 1940–44), and as lieutenant governor (1944–45). He succeeded as governor (1945–50) when J. Howard McGrath resigned. He was twice more elected governor before winning a U.S. Senate seat (1950–76). Pastore was reelected to the Senate in 1952, 1958, 1964, and 1970. He served as cochairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and chairman of a committee on TV regulation.

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