Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

J. Frank Raley, Jr. (1926-2012)
MSA SC 3520-2738


Born in Park Hall, September 13, 1926.  Son of Ruth Virginia Raley (d. 1979) and J. Frank Raley, Sr. (d. 1990), a former St. Mary's County Commissioner.  Attended St. Mary's County parochial schools; Charlotte Hall Military Academy; Georgetown University.  Died August 21, 2012, in St. Mary's City, Maryland.  Buried at St. Michael's Church Cemetery, Ridge, Maryland.

General Assembly:
Member, House of Delegates, St. Mary's County (Democrat), 1955-58; Senate, 1963-66.  Chair, Public Buildings Committee, 1963-66.

Private Career and Other Public Service:
Served with the U.S. Army, 1944-46.  General insurance agent.  President, Maryland Capital Savings & Loan Association.  Committee to Coordinate Fish Mortality Studies, 1963.  Committee to Study the Problem of Pollution in Shellfish Growing Areas, 1964.  Commission to Study and Review the Zoning and Planning Laws of the State, 1966.  St. Mary's County Commission on Youth, 1966.  Delegate, 1967 Constitutional Convention of Maryland.  Member, Maryland Economic Development Commission; Planning and Zoning Commission, 1967-78.  President, Lexington Park Chamber of Commerce.  Board of Trustees, St. Mary's College of Maryland, 1967-91.  Member-at-large, Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, 1967-88.  Human Relations Commission, 1969-1975.  Member, Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission, 1985-90. Past President, Southern Maryland Navy Alliance; Chair, Southern Maryland Regional Infrastructure Advisory Committee. Member, Society of Senates Past.  First Citizen Award, 2006.

Personal Comments and Observations:
"In 1963 legal slot machine gambling, without restriction[,] was permitted in [Anne] Arundel, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's Counties.

"In that year Governor Millard Tawes, under statewide prodding, submitted legislation to abolish this gambling.  In those days[,] especially in Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's [Counties], the economies were weak and the counties poor.  Gambling was touted as the mainstay of those economies and had a strong electoral following, well financed.  I had won election to the Senate based on the reform of the economy in St. Mary's and Southern Maryland.  I did not take a position to abolish gambling.  (I don't think I would have been elected if I did.)  I staked out a position of higher taxation and controls on gambling.

"The events of the Gubernatorial campaign overtook me, when a nobody ran up a huge amount of votes as a one-issue...candidate  [taking the position of abolishing slot machines].  Governor Tawes was forced to adopt a protective position of eliminating gambling in Southern Maryland.  The bill to abolish slots submitted as an administration measure brought fierce opposition from Southern Maryland and long and bitter debate.  I was in support of getting rid of gambling as it was a serious economic drag on the Southern Maryland economy, but I had the campaign promise around my neck.  The bill to abolish [slot machines] had a powerful statewide momentum and I turned instead to the development, together with my fellow Southern Maryland Senator John Parrin and Ed Hall of a[n] economic development program to replace the economic and tax loss.  But the issue of gambling became, as I feared it might, a major factor in my defeat in the next election.

"Recalling the personalized bitterness of this gambling controversy of 37 years ago has no other comparison in my political career.

"The contribution that seems most significant now [was] that I, and joined by Senators Parrin and Hall,...enact[ed]...the first broad development program for Southern Maryland in the years [19]63 to [19]66.  We developed, and the Governor and the Legislature concurred on a broad infrastructure development program, to bring the region into modernization.  The investment in bridges, roads, education and strategic policies did begin, with the elimination of gambling, as I thought it would, an economic resurgence in this part of the state.

[The most humorous and memorable moments in the Senate came as a result of] "...the egotism of some Senators."

Compiled March 16, 2000 from the biographical files of the Maryland Manual, ©Maryland State Archives and from materials submitted by Senator Raley dated January 28, 2000.

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