Brock Adams

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Brock Adams
Brockman Adams.jpg
United States Senator
from Washington
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1993
Preceded bySlade Gorton
Succeeded byPatty Murray
5th United States Secretary of Transportation
In office
January 23, 1977 – July 20, 1979
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byWilliam Thaddeus Coleman Jr.
Succeeded byNeil Goldschmidt
Chair of the House Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1977
Preceded byAl Ullman
Succeeded byRobert Giaimo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 22, 1977
Preceded byK. William Stinson
Succeeded byJohn E. Cunningham
United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington
In office
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byCharles Moriarty
Succeeded byWilliam Goodwin
Personal details
Brockman Adams

(1927-01-13)January 13, 1927
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
DiedSeptember 10, 2004(2004-09-10) (aged 77)
Stevensville, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mary Adams
EducationUniversity of Washington, Seattle (BA)
Harvard University (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1944–1946

Brockman "Brock" Adams (January 13, 1927 – September 10, 2004) was an American politician and member of Congress. Adams was a Democrat from Washington and served as a U.S. Representative, Senator, and United States Secretary of Transportation before retiring in January 1993.

Early life and education[edit]

Adams was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended public schools in Portland, Oregon. He attended the University of Washington at Seattle where, in 1948, he was elected president of the student government (ASUW) and was the first student to both serve in that post and receive the President's Medal of Excellence as the University's top scholar.[1] He graduated in 1949 and was admitted to Harvard Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1952.

Naval and legal career[edit]

Adams served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946, and was admitted to the Washington state bar in 1952, opening a private practice in Seattle. Adams was also a member of the American Bar Association.

Adams taught law at the American Institute of Banking from 1954 to 1960, and served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington from 1961 to 1964.[2]

Political career[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Adams was elected as a Democrat to the House and served six terms beginning January 3, 1965. He was chairman of the newly created Budget Committee during the 94th Congress, and was considered a strong candidate for Speaker of the House. On January 22, 1977, Adams resigned to become the fifth Secretary of Transportation following his appointment by President Jimmy Carter and confirmation by the Senate. After resigning his Cabinet post on July 20, 1979, Adams resumed law practice, this time in Washington, D.C., where he was a lobbyist for CSX Corporation and other railroad carriers.

Adams at Cabinet Meeting

U.S. Senator[edit]

On November 4, 1986, Adams was elected as a U.S. senator, narrowly defeating incumbent Republican Slade Gorton (677,471 to 650,931 votes, 50.66% to 48.67%).[3] Serving one term, he compiled a liberal record and was strongly supportive of his party's leadership. In 1992 he chose not to be a candidate for reelection after eight women made statements to The Seattle Times alleging that Adams had committed various acts of sexual misconduct, ranging from sexual harassment to rape.[4] Adams was accused by Kari Tupper, the daughter of a longtime friend, of drugging and assaulting her in 1987.[5][6] Adams denied the allegations, but his popularity statewide was weakened considerably by the scandal and he chose to retire rather than risk losing the seat for his party. Adams never lost an election, and lived in Stevensville, Maryland, until his death due to complications from Parkinson's disease.[7]


Adams's willingness to plunge into controversial issues was evident in the contrasting assessments of his tenure and accomplishments during a tumultuous period in transportation. The Wall Street Journal in 1979 called him the "biggest disappointment" in the Carter cabinet, while Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook, who led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under Adams, called him "absolutely one of the best transportation secretaries we've ever had".[8] Adams was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brock Adams papers-Special Collections, UW Libraries". University of Washington Libraries. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  2. ^ "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress". Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  3. ^ "Elections & Voting". Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  4. ^ Gilmore, Susan; Nalder, Eric; Pryne, Eric; Boardman, David (March 1, 1992). "8 More Women Accuse Adams--Allegations of Two Decades of Sexual Harassment, Abuse - And a Rape". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  5. ^ Rudin, Ken (1998). "Congressional Sex Scandals in History". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  6. ^ Ringle, Ken (March 22, 1992). "THE SEDUCTION OF BROCK ADAMS". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  7. ^ Daly, Matthew (September 10, 2004). "Former U.S. Sen. Brock Adams dies at 77". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved July 3, 2009.
  8. ^ "Brock Adams, Former DOT Secretary, Dies". Traffic World. 38: 13–13. September 20, 2004.

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
K. William Stinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
John E. Cunningham
Preceded by
Al Ullman
Chair of the House Budget Committee
Succeeded by
Robert Giaimo
Political offices
Preceded by
William Thaddeus Coleman Jr.
United States Secretary of Transportation
Succeeded by
Neil Goldschmidt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Warren Magnuson
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Washington
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Patty Murray
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Slade Gorton
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Washington
Served alongside: Daniel J. Evans, Slade Gorton
Succeeded by
Patty Murray