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Claude Pepper

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Claude Denson Pepper (September 8, 1900 – May 30, 1989) was an American politician of the Democratic Party, and a spokesman for left-liberalism and the elderly. He represented Florida in the United States Senate from 1936 to 1951 and the Miami area in the United States House of Representatives from 1963 until 1989.Born in Chambers County, Alabama, Pepper established a legal practice in Perry, Florida after graduating from Harvard Law School. After serving a single term in the Florida House of Representatives, Pepper won a 1936 special election to succeed Senator Duncan U. Fletcher. Pepper became one of the most prominent liberals in Congress, supporting legislation such as the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. After World War II, Pepper’s conciliatory views towards the Soviet Union and opposition to President Harry Truman’s 1948 re-nomination engendered opposition within the party. Pepper lost the 1950 Senate Democratic primary to Congressman George Smathers and returned to private legal practice the following year.
In 1962, Pepper won election to a newly-created district in the United States House of Representatives. He emerged as a staunch anti-Communist and strongly criticized Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Pepper served as Chairman of the House Committee on Aging and pursued reforms to Social Security and Medicare. From 1983 to 1989, he served as Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. He died in office in 1989 and was honored with a state funeral. In 2000, the United States Postal Service issued a 33¢ Distinguished Americans series postage stamp honoring Pepper.