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Robert Finch (American politician)

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Title: Robert Finch (American politician)  
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Subject: United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Charles Lichenstein, Ronald Reagan, Governorship of Ronald Reagan
Collection: 1925 Births, 1995 Deaths, American Military Personnel of the Korean War, American Military Personnel of World War II, American Presbyterians, Arizona Republicans, California Republicans, Cardiovascular Disease Deaths in California, Deaths from Myocardial Infarction, Lieutenant Governors of California, Nixon Administration Cabinet Members, Occidental College Alumni, United States Marine Corps Officers, United States Secretaries of Health, Education, and Welfare, University of Southern California Law School Alumni
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Robert Finch (American politician)

Robert H. Finch
Counselor to the President
In office
June, 1970 – December 15, 1972
President Richard M. Nixon
8th United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
In office
January 21, 1969 – June 23, 1970
President Richard M. Nixon
Preceded by Wilbur J. Cohen
Succeeded by Elliot L. Richardson
38th Lieutenant Governor of California
In office
Governor Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Glenn M. Anderson
Succeeded by Edwin Reinecke
Personal details
Born Robert Hutchinson Finch
(1925-10-09)October 9, 1925
Tempe, Arizona, U.S.
Died October 10, 1995(1995-10-10) (aged 70)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Carol Crothers Finch[1]
Children Maureen Finch Shaw
Kevin Finch
Priscilla Finch
Cathleen Finch Morser
Education LL.B. 1951 University of Southern California
1947 Occidental College
Profession Politician, Lawyer
Religion Baptist, and later that Presbyterian[2]
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1951-1953
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War

Robert Hutchinson Finch (October 9, 1925 — October 10, 1995) was a Republican politician from La Canada Flintridge, California. In 1967, he served as the 38th Lieutenant Governor of California, following Richard Nixon's presidential campaign in 1968, and was appointed him Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1969. He was the Counselor to the President from 1970 until 1972. During the 1976 California election, he lost to S.I. Hayakawa.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
  • Death 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and education

Finch was born in Tempe, Arizona. He was the son of Robert L. Finch, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, and his wife, Gladys Hutchinson. Finch was enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War II. He married the former Carol Crothers on February 14, 1946; they had three daughters and one son: Maureen F. Shaw, Kevin Finch, Priscilla Finch and Cathleen F. Morser.[3]

After serving in the Marines briefly during World War II, Finch entered Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he graduated in 1947 with a bachelor's degree. After the graduation from Occidental College in 1947,[4] and served as an aide to Congressman Norris Poulson. He befriended future President Richard Nixon.[3] Following college, Mr. Finch went to Washington, D.C., where he worked as an administrative aide to Congressman Norris Poulson, representative from California. During this time, he met and became friendly with freshman Congressman Richard M. Nixon. Partly at Nixon's suggestion, Mr. Finch returned to California to study law at the University of Southern California, where he took his LL.B. degree in 1951.


He had worked on the Norris election campaign in 1946, and on Nixon's campaign in 1948.[5] He returned to Southern California and earned his LL.B at the University of Southern California Law School in 1951.[6]

He was a Marine officer during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953.[6] He ran for the Congress unsuccessfully in 1952 and in 1954 against Democrat Cecil R. King,[1] who practiced law in Pasadena, and was the Chairman of the Los Angeles County Republican Central Committee, from 1956 to 1958.[5] He returned to Washington as Vice-President Nixon's aide in 1958.[1]

He was the Nixon's campaign manager in the 1960 presidential campaign, against Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy.

In 1964, Finch managed Pierre Salinger.[5] In 1966, Finch was elected the 38th Lieutenant Governor of California. He received from more votes than Ronald Reagan, who was elected Governor at the same time. In 1968, Finch was the senior adviser in Nixon's presidential campaign and was appointed Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1970, Finch left the HEW to be Counselor to the President. He left the White House on December 15, 1972,[5] to practice law in Pasadena, and he stayed involved in the Republican politics. Even though Finch had no involvement in the Watergate scandal, references to it dimmed his efforts for the elective office.[5]

He was an unsuccessful primary candidate for U.S. Senate in the 1976 California election against S.I. Hayakawa, who went on to win the general election.[1] During the 1968 presidential election, Finch was Nixon's first choice as his vice presidential running mate,[7] but Finch declined and Nixon then chose Governor of Maryland Spiro Agnew. A Nixon-Finch ticket was possible because, although Nixon was born in California, and had represented California in Congress, during the 1968 election he was a resident of New York, and California's electors would be permitted to cast their vote on both (if they were both California residents at time, California's electors would be unable to vote for both of them).

Following Nixon's election, Finch was given his choice in the new Cabinet, and he selected Secretary of HEW because of his long interest in health and education issues. Finch was more liberal than Nixon, especially on social issues, but political differences never affected their long and close relationship, with the two staying in contact until Nixon's death in April 1994.


Finch died of heart disease, in Pasadena, California, on October 10, 1995. He is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.


  1. ^ a b c d  
  2. ^ "The Political Graveyard: Phi Alpha Delta Politicians in Arizona".  
  3. ^ a b "Social Security Online History Pages". Retrieved 2012-10-01. Robert Finch was born in Tempe, Arizona. After being admitted to the California bar, Finch practiced law until 1958 when he went back to Washington as administrative assistant to Vice-President Nixon. In 1960, Mr. Finch managed Vice-President Nixon's unsuccessful campaign for President of the United States. In 1966, he was elected as Lieutenant Governor of California, serving under Governor Ronald Reagan until 1969, when he accepted a post in the Nixon Cabinet as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, a position he held until 1970. 
  4. ^ "Occidental College - Past Award Recipients". Occidental College. Retrieved 2012-10-01. The Alumni Seal Award, the highest honor presented by the Alumni Association, was established in 1965 to pay tribute to alumni who, through concern for their profession, community or College, have distinguished themselves and thereby brought honor to Occidental College 
  5. ^ a b c d e  
  6. ^ a b "Robert H. Finch - Biographical Note". Nixon Presidential Library & Museum. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  7. ^ Edge, Wally (April 11, 2008). "Friday political trivia". Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 

External links

  • Finding aid for the Robert H. Finch Oral History, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
  • "Political Themes for a Non-Presidential Election Year" is an audio recording of a talk by Finch at the Commonwealth Club of California in 1970, from the Hoover Institution Archives.
  • "Robert Hutchinson Finch". Presidential Cabinet Secretary, U.S. Politician.  
This article incorporates facts obtained from:  
Political offices
Preceded by
Glenn M. Anderson
Lieutenant Governor of California
Succeeded by
Edwin Reinecke
Preceded by
Wilbur J. Cohen
United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
January 21, 1969 - June 23, 1970
Succeeded by
Elliot Richardson
Preceded by
Counselor to the President
Succeeded by
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