By Michael Baadke
A long-serving United States Senator from Nebraska, George W. Norris, was born July 11, 1861, in Sandusky County, Ohio. He was commemorated on a 4¢ stamp issued July 11, 1961, in Washington, D.C. (Scott 1184).
Norris was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1902, and served in the U.S. Senate from 1912 to 1942.
Though affiliated with the Republican Party, Norris was an independent liberal who backed progressive legislation and supported many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, while opposing FDR on other initiatives.
Norris was a leading force behind the creation of the Rural Electrification Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Norris Dam on the Clinch River in Tennessee, constructed in the 1930s for the Tennessee Valley Authority, is named for Sen. Norris. The dam is depicted on the commemorative stamp honoring him.
Roosevelt characterized Norris as “the very perfect, gentle knight of American progressive ideals.” Part of that quote is inscribed on the Norris stamp.