J. FRANK RALEY, JR.
Democrat, St. Mary's County.
Born in Park Hall, September 13, 1926. Attended St. Mary's County parochial schools; Charlotte Hall Military Academy; Georgetown University.
Member, House of Delegates, 1955-59. Member of Senate, 1963-66. Chair, Public Buildings Committee, 1963-66.
Private Career and Other Public Service:
Served with the U.S. Army, 1945-46. General insurance agent. Former Member, Maryland Economic Development Commission. Past President, Lexington Park Chamber of Commerce.
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 63 to 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.