Warren Magnuson helps spearhead unemployment relief in Washington House of Representatives beginning on January 9, 1933.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 9/29/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1694

Newly elected state Representative Warren G. Magnuson (1905-1989) helps spearhead unemployment relief and thus plays a significant role in the Washington state legislative session that begins on January 9, 1933. This session is held during the depths of the Great Depression, with unemployment running at 25 to 30 percent. Magnuson serves as chair of the House unemployment relief committee.He will later to become one of Washington's most influential U.S. senators ever.

A bill was proposed and passed to provide $10,000,000 to hire unemployed persons for public works projects. Funds were provided for some initial work on the Grand Coulee Dam as well as the Yakima Valley Roza irrigation project, and to construct the Deception Pass bridge between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island, and to build Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.

Magnuson was also the main force in the passage of a major bill to give public utilities the right of eminent domain to acquire private power systems and a bill to allow pari-mutual betting on horse racing, which led to the establishment of Longacres Race Track in south King County.

At the conclusion of the session, House Speaker George Yantis wrote Magnuson and thanked him for his help. He stated: "You remember I told you I was going to have to count on you for a lot of work related to revenue and taxation and also on the unemployment problems. You were a very important factor in the session and delivered the goods every time. I extend my personal appreciation [and] I wish you every success -- you have the ability and the character to deliver at all times" (Scates, 40).

Magnuson was later to become one of Washington's most influential U.S. senators ever.


Sources:

Shelby Scates, Warren G. Magnuson and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century America Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997).


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