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Frank E. Moss

Frank E. Moss
United States Senator
from Utah
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1977
Preceded by Arthur V. Watkins
Succeeded by Orrin Hatch
Personal details
Born (1911-09-23)September 23, 1911
Salt Lake City, Utah
Died January 29, 2003(2003-01-29) (aged 91)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37.92″N 111°51′28.8″W / 40.7772000°N 111.858000°W / 40.7772000; -111.858000

Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Phyllis Hart
Children Marilyn Moss Armstrong
Frank Edward Moss Jr.
Brian Hart Moss
Gordon James Moss
Alma mater University of Utah
George Washington University Law School
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)

Frank Edward "Ted" Moss (September 23, 1911 – January 29, 2003) was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a United States Senator from Utah from 1959 to 1977.

Early life and education

Frank Moss was born in Holladay, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah, as the youngest of seven children of James Edward and Maude (née Nixon) Moss.[1] His father, a well-known secondary school educator, was known as the "father of high school athletics" in Utah.[2] In 1929, he graduated from Granite High School, where he had been freshman class president, editor of the school newspaper, two-time state debate champion, and center on the football team.[2]

Moss then attended the University of Utah, where he was a double major in speech and history.[3] During college, he was sophomore class president and coach of the varsity debate team.[2] He graduated magna cum laude in 1933.[4] The following year, he married Phyllis Hart (the daughter of Charles H. Hart), to whom he remained married until his death in 2003; the couple had one daughter and three sons.[1]

Moss studied at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., where was editor of The George Washington Law Review (1936–1937).[5] While studying in Washington, he worked at the National Recovery Administration, the Resettlement Administration, and the Farm Credit Administration.[2] He received Juris Doctor degree cum laude in 1937.[4]

Early career

After his admission to the bar, Moss was a member of the legal staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 1937 to 1939.[3] He then returned to Utah, where he opened a private practice in Salt Lake City and became a law clerk to Utah Supreme Court justice James H. Wolfe.[1] In his first run for public office, he was elected a judge of Salt Lake City's Municipal Court in 1940.[4] During World War II, he served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in judge advocate general's department in the European Theater (1942–1945).[3]

Following his military service, Moss returned to Salt Lake City and was re-elected as city judge, serving in that position until his resignation in 1950.[1] He served as county attorney for Salt Lake County from 1950 to 1959.[3] During those years, he practiced law in the firms of Moss & Hyde (1951–1955) and Moss & Cowley (1955–1959).[4] In 1956, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Utah, losing to City Commissioner L.C. Romney.[4]

U.S. Senate

In 1958, Moss ran for the U.S. Senate against two-term incumbent Arthur V. Watkins, a close ally of both the Eisenhower administration and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see also Mormon), and also against J. Bracken Lee, a non-Mormon and former two-term Utah governor (1949–57), who was running as an independent after losing to Watkins in the Republican primary. The Republican vote was split in the general election, largely over local dissatisfaction with Watkins's having chaired the committee that censured Senator Joseph McCarthy, and Moss won election with less than 40 percent of the vote.

Moss was an original sponsor of laws to create Medicaid, a program to cover health care for low income people.[6]

Moss was elected to a second term in 1964, defeating Brigham Young University President Ernest L. Wilkinson. He was elected to a third term in 1970 defeating four-term Congressman Laurence J. Burton. He gained national prominence with regard to environmental, consumer, and health care issues. Moss became an expert on water issues and wrote The Water Crisis in 1967. He worked to secure additional national parks for Utah and started important investigations into the care of the elderly in nursing and retirement homes, and into physicians' abuses of the federal Medicaid program. In 1974, Moss joined Senator Frank Church D-Idaho to sponsor the first legislation to provide federal funding for hospice care programs. The bill did not have widespread support and was not brought to a vote. Congress finally included a Hospice benefit in Medicare in 1982.[7]

Moss chaired the Consumer Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee where he sponsored a measure requiring detailed labeling on cigarette packages noting the health hazards of smoking and banning tobacco advertising on radio and television. He also sponsored the Consumer Product Warranty and Guarantee Act (Magnuson-Moss Act), the Toy Safety Act, the Product Safety Act, and the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. He was also Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences from 1973 to 1977.

Moss ran for a fourth term unsuccessfully in 1976 against Orrin Hatch, afterwards returning to the practice of law in Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City. To date, Moss is the last Democrat to represent Utah in the U.S. Senate.

He died in 2003 of eye cancer.


External links

  • Frank Moss at the Utah History Encyclopedia
Preceded by
Arthur Vivian Watkins
United States Senator (Class 1) from Utah
Served alongside: Wallace F. Bennett, Jake Garn
Succeeded by
Orrin Hatch
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Byrd
Secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus
Succeeded by
Daniel Inouye

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