Robert Byrd (November 20, 1917 – June 28, 2010) was a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing West Virginia. He served as President pro tempore of the Senate. Byrd served longer than all but one Member of Congress and in November 2006, he was elected to an unprecedented ninth full term in the Senate. He died in a Washington, D.C.-area hospital at about 3 a.m. EST on June 28, 2010. He had checked into the hospital on the day before his death after becoming ill with what was assumed to be heat stroke and dehydration because of the high temperatures in the D.C. area. Other medical conditions reportedly emerged.
Byrd grew up in Raleigh County and met his late wife, Erma Ora James, there. They married in 1937 and she passed away on March 25, 2006 after battling a long illness.
Byrd earned his law degree from American University in 1963, while serving in Congress. He did not earn his Bachelor's from Marshall University until 60 years after high school, when Senator Byrd was 77 years old.
Byrd had two daughters, Mona Byrd (married to Mohammad Fatemi) and Marjorie Byrd (married to Jon Moore). He has six grandchildren: Erik, Darius, and Fredrik Fatemi; Michael Moore (deceased), Mona Byrd Moore Pearson, and Mary Anne Moore Clarkson. He has five great granddaughters: Caroline Byrd Fatemi; Kathryn James Fatemi, and Anna Cristina Honora Fatemi; Emma James Clarkson and Hannah Byrd Clarkson; and two great grandsons, Michael Yoo Fatemi and James Matthew Fatemi.
Byrd wrote five books: The Senate, 1789-1989 (in 4 volumes, Vols. 1 and 2, Addresses on the History of the United States Senate; Vol. 3, Classic Speeches, 1830 - 1993; Vol. 4, Historical Statistics, 1789 - 1992; published in Washington by the U.S. Government Printing Office in 1994), The Senate of the Roman Republic: Addresses on the History of Roman Constitutionalism (published in Washington by the U.S. Government Printing Office in 1994), Losing America: Confronting A Reckless and Arrogant Presidency (published in New York by W.W. Norton & Company in 2004), Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields (published in Morgantown by the West Virginia University Press in 2005), and co-author with Steve Kettmann, Letter to a New President (Published in New York by St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books in 2008).
Supported by Council for a Livable World
The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Robert Byrd in his successful Senate run as candidate for West Virginia.
Opposed the Iraq War
The following is a list of the 23 U.S. Senators voting "Nay" on the Iraq War resolution in October 2002. The vote was 77-23 in favor of the resolution.
Daniel Akaka (D - Hawaii), Jeff Bingaman (D - N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D - Calif.), Robert Byrd (D - W. Va.), Lincoln Chafee (R - R.I.), Kent Conrad (D - N.D.), Jon Corzine (D - N.J.), Mark Dayton (D - Minn.), Dick Durbin (D - Ill.), Russ Feingold (D - Wis.), Bob Graham (D - Fla.) [Retired, 2004], Daniel Inouye (D - Hawaii), Jim Jeffords (I - Vt.), Ted Kennedy (D - Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D - Vt.), Carl Levin (D - Mich.), Barbara Mikulski (D - Md.), Patty Murray (D - Wash.), Jack Reed (D - R.I.), Paul Sarbanes (D - Md.), Debbie Stabenow (D - Mich.), Paul Wellstone (D - Minn.) [Dec. 2002] and Ron Wyden (D - Ore.).
- Committee on Appropriations, senior member
- Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Rules and Administration
- Committee on the Budget