Nick Begich

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Nick Begich
Nick Begich.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1971 – October 16, 1972
Preceded by Howard Pollock
Succeeded by Don Young
Member of the Alaska State Senate
In office
1962–1970
Personal details
Born Nicholas Joseph Begich[1][2]
(1932-04-06)April 6, 1932
Eveleth, Minnesota
Died Presumably October 16, 1972(1972-10-16) (aged 40)
Alaska
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Pegge Begich
Children Mark, Nichelle, Stephanie, Tom, Paul, and Nick
Alma mater St. Cloud State University, University of Minnesota, University of Colorado, University of North Dakota

Nicholas Joseph "Nick" Begich, Sr. (April 6, 1932 – undetermined, presumed dead October 16, 1972) was a Democratic Party member of the United States House of Representatives from Alaska. He disappeared in a plane crash in Alaska in 1972. His son Mark Begich is currently the junior U.S. Senator from Alaska.

Early life and education[edit]

Begich was born and raised in Eveleth, Minnesota. His father, John Begich (Begić), was born in Podlapača, Croatia[3] and his mother, Anna (née Martinich), was also Croatian.[4] He attended Saint Cloud State University (Bachelor of Arts, 1952) and the University of Minnesota (Master of Arts, 1954) before pursuing his doctorate at the University of Colorado and the University of North Dakota.

Career[edit]

Begich worked as a guidance counselor in the schools of Anchorage, Alaska, and was later Director of Student Personnel for the Anchorage school system before becoming Superintendent of Schools at Fort Richardson.[5][6] In 1962, Begich was elected to the Alaska Senate, where he served for eight years. Begich also taught political science during parts of this period at the University of Alaska at Anchorage.[7]

In 1970, Begich was elected to Alaska's only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating the Republican banker Frank Murkowski – who later served as a U.S. Senator and then as Governor of Alaska. In 1972 for his reelection, Begich was opposed by Republican state senator Don Young.

Posthumously, Begich won the 1972 election with 56% to Don Young's 44%. However, after Begich was declared dead, a special election was held and Mr. Young won this seat and still serves in this position as of 2013.

Disappearance[edit]

Begich's memorial at the Congressional Cemetery.

On October 16, 1972, he was aboard a twin engine Cessna 310 along with House Majority Leader Hale Boggs of Louisiana when the plane disappeared during a flight from Anchorage to Juneau. Also on board were Begich's aide, Russell Brown; and the pilot, Don Jonz.[8] The four were heading to a campaign fundraiser for Begich.

In an enormous search effort, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force search and rescue planes looked for the four men and their airplane. On November 24, 1972, after proceeding for thirty-nine days, the air search was called off. Neither the plane nor any of its four occupants were ever found. All were declared dead on December 29, 1972. The accident prompted Congress to pass a law mandating emergency locator transmitters in all United States civil aircraft.[9]

Electoral history[edit]

Alaska's At-large congressional district: Results 1968–1972[10]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct
1968 Howard W. Pollock (inc.) 43,577 54.2% N. J. Begich 36,785 45.8%
1970 Frank H. Murkowski 35,947 44.9% N. J. Begich 44,137 55.1%
1972 Don Young 41,750 43.8% N. J. Begich (inc.) 53,651 56.2%

Personal life[edit]

Nick Begich had six children, named Mark, Nichelle, Tom, Stephanie, Paul, and Nick Jr. His son Mark Begich is currently the junior U.S. Senator from Alaska. Mark won this position after defeating the Republican Party's longest serving Senator, Ted Stevens, who was killed in a plane crash nearly two years later.

Nick's brother Joseph Begich served 18 years in the Minnesota House of Representatives from their hometown of Eveleth.[11]

Nick Begich's widow, Pegge Begich, ran for the House of Representatives seat in 1984 and 1986, but she was defeated by the incumbent, Mr. Young. She is now retired and lives in Nevada. Their eldest son, Nick Begich, Jr., has been twice elected as the president of both the Alaska Federation of Teachers and the Anchorage Council of Education.[12] He is also a noted conspiracy theorist, concentrating on the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program. He authored the research book Angels Don't Play this H.A.A.R.P. and appeared on the TV show Conspiracy Theory.[13][14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas Merton, Thomas Merton in Alaska: Prelude to the Asian Journal; the Conferences, Journals and Letters, 1988, page 64
  2. ^ Northwest Digital Archives, Guide to the Nick Begich Papers, 1960-1973: Biographical Note, retrieved June 2, 2014
  3. ^ Begich, Tom. (2006-04-30). "Tom Begich: Politics first – Part of growing up in a political family with a man who was a workaholic was I didn't know my father." at the Wayback Machine[dead link] Interviewed by Judy Ferguson. Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-04-04. Tom Begich says of his father, "Until I was nearly 12, I grew up with a man who was a legend, the son of Croatian immigrants, but who disappeared Oct. 16, 1972, into the clouds."
  4. ^ http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~battle/senators/begich.htm
  5. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office, [U.S. Government Printing Office Memorial Services Held in the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States: Together with Tributes Presented in Eulogy of Nick Begich, Late a Representative from Alaska], 1973, page 52
  6. ^ National Water Resources Association, Water Life magazine, Volume 35, 1976, page 38
  7. ^ Stephen M. Brent, Research Institute of Alaska, Inc., The Alaska Survey and Report, 1970-1971, Volume 2, 1970, page 245
  8. ^ "Hale Boggs — Missing in Alaska". Famous Missing Aircraft. Check-Six. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  9. ^ Washington State Department of Transportation, Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), Source: October 2000 Civil Air Patrol News, retrieved June 2, 2014
  10. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  11. ^ Minnesota State Legislature, Biography, Joseph R. Begich, retrieved June 2, 2014
  12. ^ Earthpulse Press, Biography, DR. Nick Begich, retrieved June 2, 2014
  13. ^ Dr. Nick Begich and Jeane Manning, The Military's Pandora's Box, retrieved June 2, 2014
  14. ^ Kimberly Trew, Koldcast TV, Why Jesse Ventura is Talking About Super-Secret HAARP, retrieved June 2, 2014

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Howard W. Pollock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alaska

January 3, 1971 – October 16, 1972
Succeeded by
Don Young