Tuesday, January 27, 1998
Mr. MATSUI. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to a former member of this body, my mentor and predecessor in this House, The Honorable John E. Moss. As Congressman Moss is memorialized today in the city which be represented so well, I ask all of my colleagues to join me in saluting his remarkable career in public service.
Throughout the twenty-six years he represented the Sacramento area in this House, he served with distinction as an effective and compassionate champion for his constituents. As a skillful legislator, he played a key role in shaping and passing some of this century's great legislative achievements, all the while keeping the interests of his district at the forefront of his concerns.
Born in the state of Utah in 1915, John Moss' family moved to Sacramento, California in 1923. There, he went to school and married Jean Kueny in 1935. The couple would have two daughters. After serving in the Second World War, Congressman Moss was a businessman, but he soon heard the call to serve in the public sector and he won a seat in the California State Assembly in 1948.
Just four years thereafter, at the age of thirty-three, John Emerson Moss was elected to the House of Representatives, a position he would fulfill admirably for the next twenty-six years. One of Congressman Moss' first orders of business was to persuade then-President Harry S. Truman to approve the construction of a dam along the American River at the town of Folsom, just east of Sacramento. In a sign of his political prowess, Congressman Moss was able to successfully lobby the White House to support this important project.
His other early achievements included winning federal support for the Sacramento Airport and the surrounding military bases. John Moss steadfastly represented and served as an advocate for a great cross- section of Californians living in Sacramento, regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion. Yet his commitment to the needs of his district never overwhelmed his core devotion to civil and human rights, and to truth in government.
From 1955 until 1966, John Moss devoted much of his time in this House to winning passage of the Freedom of Information Act. His crusade to create and enact a law which would allow for a more open, understanding, and responsible government was perhaps his greatest achievement in Congress and would earn him the title of ``Father of the Freedom of Information Act.''
By the early 1970s, he had risen to the leadership of the House, serving as high as deputy majority whip under both Congressmen Carl Albert and Hale Boggs. At this same time, as the Watergate saga began to unfold and the U.S. involvement in Vietnam wound down, John Moss served as one of the great consciences of the House, always calling for greater government accountability and responsiveness to the concerns of the people.
As his career concluded in 1979, Congressman Moss could look back and see a great string of legislative and political achievements: The 1970 Federal Clean Air Act, the creation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and reform of the nation's anti-monopoly laws, to name but a few.
Mr. Speaker, since Congressman Moss' passing, tributes have come forth from President Bill Clinton, former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, and countless other prominent Americans and Sacramentans. His passion and drive in defending the First Amendment, advocating consumer and environmental protection, and looking after the needs of his Sacramento constituency has cemented his legacy as one of this century's great legislative leaders. On a personal note, as my friend and mentor is eulogized today, I ask all of my colleagues to join with me in honoring this great and caring husband, father, and legislator.