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Carter Glass: A Featured Biography


Photo of Senator Carter Glass

It isn’t uncommon for a senator to be appointed to fill a vacancy. However, Virginia Senator Carter Glass (1858-1946) filled not one but two congressional seats because of deaths of sitting members. In 1902, Glass was elected to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives and was reelected eight times. He then spent two years as President Wilson’s secretary of the treasury (1918-1920) before being asked to fill a vacant Senate seat. In part because Glass could not take his seat until February 2, 1920, a leadership deadlock occurred in the Senate. Once seated, Glass served in the Senate for over 25 years, during which time he chaired the Appropriations Committee and pioneered the Glass-Steagall Act, a sweeping reform of the banking and investment industries. Glass became president pro tempore in 1941, a position he held until his death in 1946.