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GEORGE NORRIS II

August 23, 2012

GEORGE NORRIS II

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report on Senator John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Profiles In Courage.”  


JFK’s book highlights the stories of eight United States Senators who risked their political careers to pursue justice.


In the introduction to the Memorial Edition, Robert Kennedy writes:


“Courage is the virtue that President Kennedy most admired.  That is why this book so fitted his personality, his beliefs.”

 

JFK Library Image

The title of Chapter VIII is George Norris.


JFK describes Senator George Norris of Nebraska as “an idealist, an independent, a fighter–a man of deep conviction,  fearless courage, (&) sincere honesty.”


But he also points out his faults.  “emotional in his deliberations, vituperative in his denunciations & prone to engage in bitter & exaggerated personal attack…”


On balance, however, JFK writes that “nothing could sway (Norris) from what he thought was right, from his determination to help all the people…”


This included his fight to bring low-cost electricity to the TENNESSEE VALLEY whose people, JFK says, “live a thousand miles from….Nebraska.”*


*Senator Kennedy does not go into TVA in this chapter, but since it has had & does have such an impact on my home city, county & state, I will go into TVA a little further.


TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY


The TVA Act, sponsored by Republican Senator George Norris of Nebraska, was signed into law by Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 18, 1933.**

 

Norris Dam, Anderson County, Tennessee, Photo by Brian Stansberry (2008)

TVA was created to provide navigation, flood control, electricity & to promote the economic development of the Tennessee Valley, one of the most blighted areas of the nation.


Prior to TVA, the average income in the area was $639 annually.


Farm income had declined due to flooding & eroded soil & declining crop yields.


Today TVA operates 11 coal-powered plants, 29 hydroelectric dams, 3 nuclear power plants & is the largest public power company in the U.S. serving more than 8.5 million people.

 

TVA Towers, Knoxville, Tennessee, Photo by John White, 2008

                  


**East Tennessee is traditionally a Republican stronghold but Knox County was won by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Presidential elections of 1932, 1936 & 1940.

 

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