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Jerry J. O'Connell

For the actor, see Jerry O'Connell.

Jerry Joseph O'Connell (June 14, 1909 – January 16, 1956) was an American politician. He was a member of the U.S. Representative from Montana.


Born in Butte, Montana, O'Connell attended the parochial schools and Butte Central High School. He graduated from Carroll College (formerly Mount St. Charles College), Helena, Montana, in 1931, and from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., in 1934. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1934.


Montana: O'Connell served in the State house of representatives 1931-1934. He served as member of the Montana Public Service Commission 1934-1936. He served as delegate to the Democratic State conventions 1930-1940.

Washington, DC: O'Connell was elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-fifth Congress (January 3, 1937-January 3, 1939).[1] He ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1938 to the Seventy-sixth Congress and again in 1940 to the Seventy-seventh Congress.[2]

Montana: O'Connell worked as a newspaper editor and publisher in Hamilton, Montana from 1939 to 1941. He commenced a law practice of law in Butte, Montana in 1940. He served as delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1944.[3]

Washington State: O'Connell moved to Seattle, Washington, in June 1944. He served as executive secretary of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee from December 1944 to January 1947, for the Roosevelt Democrats in 1947, and for the Washington State Progressive Party in 1948 and 1949.

Montana: He returned to Montana in 1950 and practiced law in Great Falls until his death there on January 16, 1956. He was interred in Great Falls Mausoleum.

HUAC Testimony

O'Connell was openly a long-time progressive socialist and communist fellow traveler. In 1955, he appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The Committee questioned him widely, including Henry Wallace's bid for President in 1948. The Committee gained no new evidence, which lessened its reputation. After the hearings, O'Connell had a heart attack and died.[4][5]


External sources

  • Rep. Jerry O'Connell
  • The Political Graveyard: O'Connell, Jerry Joseph (1909-1956)
  • Find A Grave: Jerry Joseph O'Connell


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

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