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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesNew Jersey

Harrison Arlington WILLIAMS, Jr.

(1919-2001)
Senate Years of Service:
1959-1982
Party:
Democrat

WILLIAMS, Harrison Arlington, Jr., a Representative and a Senator from New Jersey; born in Plainfield, Union County, N.J., December 10, 1919; attended the public schools; graduated from Oberlin College in 1941; engaged in newspaper work in Washington, D.C., and studied at Georgetown University Foreign Service School until called to active duty as a seaman in the United States Naval Reserve in 1941; became a naval aviator and was discharged as a lieutenant (jg.) in 1945; employed in the steel industry for a short time; graduated, Columbia University Law School 1948; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in New Hampshire in 1948; returned to Plainfield, N.J., in 1949 and continued to practice law; was an unsuccessful candidate for the State house of assembly in 1951 and for city councilman in 1952; elected on November 3, 1953, as a Democrat to the Eighty-third Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Clifford Case; reelected to the Eighty-fourth Congress and served from November 3, 1953, to January 3, 1957; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1956 to the Eighty-fifth Congress; elected to the United States Senate in 1958; reelected in 1964, 1970 and 1976 and served from January 3, 1959, until his resignation on March 11, 1982; chairman, Special Committee on Aging (Ninetieth and Ninety-first Congresses), Committee on Labor and Public Welfare (Ninety-second through Ninety-fifth Congresses), Committee on Human Resources (Ninety-fifth Congress), Committee on Labor and Human Resources (Ninety-sixth Congress); one of the congressional targets in the government operation known as “ABSCAM”; convicted of charges related to this effort, and sentenced on February 17, 1982, to three years in prison, of which he served twenty-one months; during subsequent Senate proceedings on an expulsion motion, he resigned his seat on March 11, 1982; was a resident of Bedminster, N.J. until his death on November 17, 2001.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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