ROCKWALL – Family members and friends celebrated 17-term Congressman Ralph Hall’s 90th birthday May 3 at the Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club in The Shores subdivision, the first of several birthday parties planned for the oldest-serving U.S. House member in history.
(Shown in photo is Rep. Hall with his grand-daughter Amanda)
He earned that distinction, according to his website biography, on Dec. 25, 2012. On Nov. 27, he became the oldest member in U.S. House history to ever cast a vote on the floor of the House.
“I am 90 years old,” Rep. Hall told TheRockwallNews.com during a phone call today. “I don’t feel 90. Don’t know where all the time has gone.”
“I got up at 12:05 am on May 3 when I turned 90 and walked around a little bit, thinking that I had just turned 90 years old.”
“I just keep busy battling Obamacare and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) every week.”
“I”d like to get another shot at electing a Republican President, and providing better leadership for our kids and grand-kids,” he added. “There is no leadership now.”
“I come back home to the District every week and get out and meet with folks from around the District.”
He said he might parachute from a plane again soon and then laughed and asked, ” I was thinking that maybe I should swim the English Channel instead. What do you think?”
Rep. Hall said he is back on the Energy & Commerce Committee.
“As the Dean of the U.S. Congress, I’m the Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and I’m back now on the Energy & Commerce Committee where I belong.”
He added that he is also working on a new immigration law, discussing if and what the U.S. should do about the war in Syria and urging his fellow Congressmen and women to stay in Washington D.C. during the typical August break to solve the nation’s problems.
He expressed concern that citizens’ opinion of Congress has dropped below a 10 percent approval rating, and dismay over how many Continuing Resolutions keep getting passed which fund programs annually without discussion. He explained that some programs have been continually passed since the 1990s with no good reason. They just keep getting passed.
When Hall was first elected to the House in 1980, the nation was in the midst of the Iran Hostage Crisis and Ronald Reagan was elected President over incumbent Jimmy Carter. Gas cost about $1.25 per gallon and Ted Turner established CNN. Mount St. Helens erupted, Rubik’s Cube and PacMan video games became popular and, tragically, John Lennon was murdered Dec. 8.
Back then, like most other elected officials, Hall was a Democrat. Now he’s a Republican, like most other elected Texas office-holders.
“I’m just an old guy — lived pretty clean,” Hall told the Associate Press in December, 2012. “I have no ailments. I don’t hurt anywhere. I may run again. I’ll just wait and see.” He has announced he is running again for at least one more term in the 2014 election.
According to his House website, Congressman Hall’s public service began at the urging of his wife, Mary Ellen Murphy, to whom he was married from 1944 until her passing in 2008. Between 1950 and 1962, he served as County Judge of Rockwall County and in 1958-1959 served as President of the State Judges and Commissioners Association. He also was elected and served as a Texas State Senator from 1962 to 1972, serving as President Pro Tempore in 1968-1969.
He has three sons, Hampton, Brett, and Blakeley, and five grandchildren.
Fellow Texas congressmen also wished the senior lawmaker a Happy Birthday on Twitter, which Hall joined earlier this year:
By J.J. Smith