Samuel S. Stratton

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Samuel Stratton redirects here. For the MIT President, see Samuel Wesley Stratton. For the Middlebury President, see Samuel Somerville Stratton.
Samuel S. Stratton
Samuel S. Stratton 94th Congress 1975.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 32nd, 35th, 29th, 28th, 23rd district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1989
Preceded by Bernard W. Kearney
Succeeded by Michael R. McNulty
Mayor of Schenectady, New York
In office
Personal details
Born September 27, 1916
Yonkers, New York
Died September 13, 1990(1990-09-13) (aged 73)
Rockville, Maryland
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Children Brian U. Stratton
Alma mater University of Rochester
Haverford College
Harvard University
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank US-O6 insignia.svgCaptain
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Bronze Star

Samuel Studdiford Stratton (September 27, 1916 – September 13, 1990) was a U.S. Representative, representing New York for almost 30 years from 1959 to 1989.

Early life[edit]

Stratton was born in Yonkers, New York and his family moved to Schenectady, New York while he was an infant. He attended school in Schenectady, Rochester, New York, and Blair Academy in New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Rochester in 1937, Haverford College, Pennsylvania in 1938 and Harvard University in 1940. Stratton spent 1940 to 1942 as executive secretary to Massachusetts Congressman Thomas H. Eliot.


In mid-1942, Stratton joined the United States Naval Reserve. He served as ensign in the South West Pacific Area as a combat intelligence officer on the staff of General Douglas MacArthur. Twice awarded the Bronze Star with a Valor device, Stratton interrogated Tomoyuki Yamashita, who was later executed for his part in the Manila massacre.


After World War II, Stratton returned to Schenectady and was elected to the city council in 1949. During the Korean War, Stratton was recalled to active duty, serving as an instructor in Washington, D.C. from 1951 to 1953, and attaining the rank of captain. Stratton again returned to Schenectady and was re-elected to the city council from 1953 to 1956. In 1955, he was elected mayor of Schenectady as a conservative Democrat. For a period of time while he was Mayor, he supplemented his meager salary by working for Channel 6 WRGB, the General Electric television station in Schenectady, as well as other local television and radio stations.

In 1958, Stratton was elected to the U.S. Congress. He made a name for himself in multiple elections by appealing to conservative voters and supporting defense spending in his district, which included General Electric and the Watervliet Arsenal. The Republicans, who controlled the New York State Senate, tried multiple times to gerrymander Stratton out of office by making his district include some of the most conservative Republican territory in upstate New York. For much of his time in the House, his district extended from Albany, snaking its way west across Upstate to at least as far as Auburn, including along the way as much conservative territory as possible. In spite of this, he was very popular with the voters and was consistently re-elected.

Stratton was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in 1964, hoping to challenge incumbent Kenneth Keating, but he was defeated by Robert F. Kennedy, who would go on to win the election. Stratton was reelected to the House fourteen times before finally bowing out of public life at age 72. According to Stratton's 1990 obituary in the New York Times, he served as a Democrat in Congress and was for many years a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee.[1] He was a proponent of the Equal Rights Amendment and also introduced a bill, as a rider to the 1975 defense appropriation bill, which mandated the admission of women to the service academies.

Stratton lived in Potomac, Maryland after his retirement until his death in Rockville, Maryland at age 73. After his death, both the Air National Guard base in Schenectady and the Veterans Administration hospital in Albany, New York were named in his honor. Samuel Stratton was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

His son, Brian U. Stratton, was elected mayor of Schenectady in 2003. With the expected retirement of the elder Stratton's successor in Congress, Michael McNulty, there was speculation the younger Stratton would run for his father's old House seat in the 2008 election, but he chose to remain mayor.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Archibald Wemple
Mayor of Schenectady
Succeeded by
Kenneth S. Sheldon
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bernard W. Kearney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 32nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Alexander Pirnie
Preceded by
R. Walter Riehlman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 35th congressional district

Succeeded by
James M. Hanley
Preceded by
Daniel E. Button
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th congressional district

Succeeded by
Carleton J. King
Preceded by
Hamilton Fish IV
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 28th congressional district

Succeeded by
Matthew F. McHugh
Preceded by
Peter A. Peyser
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 23rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Michael R. McNulty