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Wilbur Mills

US Representative

Died when: 82 years 344 days (995 months)
Star Sign: Gemini


Wilbur Mills

Wilbur Daigh Mills (May 24, 1909 – May 2, 1992) was an American Democratic politician who represented Arkansas's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1939 until his retirement in 1977.

As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee from 1958 to 1974, he was often called "the most powerful man in Washington".

Born in Kensett, Arkansas, Mills pursued a legal career and helped run his father's bank after three years at Harvard Law School, when he returned to Kensett he also assisted his father at the AP Mills General Store, as he had done for many years.

In fact, he began doing the store inventory at about 10 years of age.He served as the youngest ever county judge of White County, Arkansas, then won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1938, the youngest elected from Arkansas.

As the youngest chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Mills was the Congressional architect in establishing Medicare.He was also the architect of the Tax Reform Act of 1969, lowering rates on poor and raising rates on rich, and creating the alternative minimum tax and a strong advocate for infrastructure projects, especially the interstate highway system.

Mills' name was entered in the presidential primaries in a few states in 1972, championing an automatic cost of living adjustment to Social Security, performing surprisingly well in Manchester, New Hampshire and poorly in several states in the Democratic primaries.

After two public incidents with a stripper named Fanne Foxe, he stepped down as Chair of the Ways and Means and checked into the Palm Beach Institute for Alcoholism for three months and he declined to seek re-election in 1976, even though he had received more than 59% of the vote for re-election after the first incident.

After leaving office, he returned to the practice of law and helped establish a center for the treatment of alcoholism, the Wilbur D.

Mills Center for Alcoholism and Drug Treatment Center, while supporting similar centers around the country in their fundraising efforts.

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