Henry Martin Jackson–-popularly known by the nickname "Scoop"–-was born in Everett, Washington. Jackson practiced law in his hometown and became prosecuting attorney of Snohomish County in 1938. Two years later he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat, where he served for the next 12 years, briefly chairing the Committee on Indian Affairs. Jackson won election to the U.S. Senate in 1952.
Throughout his long and distinguished Senate career, Jackson focused his efforts on two issues: energy and the environment, and national security. He served as chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and its successor, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; in this capacity he was uniquely positioned to address the natural resource concerns of his Washington state constituents. He was instrumental in passing conservation and energy legislation throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and drafted the landmark National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Also an advocate for strong national defense, particularly with regard to the Soviet Union, Jackson was a member of both the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and the Armed Services Committee, and gained a reputation as an expert on nuclear weapons and defense issues.
Well respected by his colleagues in the Senate, Jackson was considered a front-runner for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination in 1960, but John F. Kennedy offered the nomination to Lyndon Johnson instead. In announcing the news to the press, Jackson remarked, "No one should enter politics unless he is a good sport...I will do whatever Senators Kennedy and Johnson want me to do. I will do everything a good sport should do."  That year he served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He later ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 and 1976. Senator Jackson died in office on September 1, 1983, ending a congressional career that spanned more than four decades.
1. William W. Prochnau and Richard W. Larsen, A Certain Democrat: Senator Henry M. Jackson (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972), 196.