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definition - Fritz_Hollings

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Ernest Hollings

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Ernest Frederick Hollings

In office
November 8, 1966 – January 3, 2005
Preceded byDonald S. Russell
Succeeded byJim DeMint
In office
January 20, 1959 – January 15, 1963
LieutenantBurnet R. Maybank, Jr.
Preceded byGeorge Bell Timmerman
Succeeded byDonald S. Russell
In office
January 18, 1955 – January 20, 1959
GovernorGeorge Bell Timmerman, Jr.
Preceded byGeorge Bell Timmerman, Jr.
Succeeded byBurnet R. Maybank, Jr.
In office
May 8, 1980 – January 3, 1981
Preceded byEdmund Muskie
Succeeded byPete Domenici
In office
January 6, 1987 – January 4, 1995
Preceded byJohn Danforth
Succeeded byLarry Pressler
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2001
Preceded byJohn McCain
Succeeded byJohn McCain
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded byJohn McCain
Succeeded byJohn McCain
BornJanuary 1, 1922 (1922-01-01) (age 88)
Charleston, South Carolina
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Rita Louise Liddy

Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings (born January 1, 1922) served as a Democratic United States Senator from South Carolina from 1966 to 2005, as well as the 106th Governor of South Carolina (1959-1963) and Lt. Governor (1955-1959).


Early life

Hollings was born in Charleston, South Carolina to Adolph G. and Wilhelmine Hollings and was raised at 338 President St. in the Hampton Park Terrace neighborhood from the age of ten through enrolling in college. He graduated from The Citadel in 1942, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received an LL.B. from the University of South Carolina in 1947 after only 21 months of study, and joined a law practice in Charleston.[1] Hollings is a brother of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He is married to Rita Liddy "Peatsy" Hollings. He had four children (Michael, Helen Hayne, Salley, and Fritz) with his first wife, Patricia Salley Hollings. He is a Lutheran.

Hollings served as an officer in the U.S. Army's 323rd and 457th Artillery units from 1942 to 1945, during World War II, and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in direct support of combat operations from December 13, 1944 to May 1, 1945 in France and Germany. He received the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five Bronze Service Stars for participation in the Tunisia, Southern France, Rome-Arno, Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns.[2]

Political career

He served three terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1949 to 1954. After only one term, Hollings' colleagues elected him Speaker Pro Tempore in 1951 and 1953.[3] He was subsequently elected Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina in 1954, and Governor in 1958 at age 36.

Governor of South Carolina

As governor of South Carolina from January 20, 1959 to January 15, 1963, Hollings worked to improve the state's educational system, helping to bring more industry (and thus, jobs) to the state. His term in office saw the establishment of the state's technical education system and its educational television network. He also called for and achieved significant increases in teachers' salaries, bringing them closer to the regional average. At the 1961 Governor's Conference on Business, Industry, Education and Agriculture in Columbia, S.C., he declared, "Today, in our complex society, education is the cornerstone upon which economic development must be built--and prosperity assured."[4]

In his last address to the General Assembly on January 9, 1963, ahead of the peaceful admission of the first African-American student Harvey Gantt to Clemson University, Hollings declared: "As we meet, South Carolina is running out of courts...this General Assembly must make clear South Carolina's choice, a government of laws rather than a government of men...This should be done with dignity. It should be done with law and order."[5].

In 2000, the Confederate battle flag was lowered from above the South Carolina Statehouse where it had flown underneath the US and state flags. The Confederate flag went up in 1962 during Hollings' term as Governor.

Hollings oversaw the last executions in South Carolina before the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Furman v. Georgia which temporarily banned capital punishment. During his term, eight inmates were put to death by electric chair. The last was rapist Douglas Thorne, on April 20, 1962.[6]

He sought the Democratic nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1962 but lost to incumbent Olin D. Johnston.

United States Senator

Early Senate career

Johnston died on April 18, 1965. Hollings' successor as Governor, Donald S. Russell, resigned in order to accept appointment to the Senate seat, and Hollings defeated Russell in the Democratic primary for the remaining two years of the term. He then won the November 1966 special election and was sworn in shortly thereafter, gaining seniority on other newly-elected U.S. Senators who would have to wait until January, 1967, to take the oath of office. He won the seat in his own right in 1968, and was re-elected five more times. For 36 years (until January 2003), he served alongside Republican Strom Thurmond, making them the longest-serving Senate duo ever. The two generally had a good relationship despite their sometimes sharp philosophical differences, and frequently collaborated on legislation and projects to benefit South Carolina. Only Thurmond, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, Daniel Inouye, Carl Hayden, John Stennis and Ted Stevens served longer in the Senate than Hollings.

In 1970, Hollings authored The Case Against Hunger: A Demand for a National Policy, acknowledging the Reverend I.D. Newman and Sister Mary Anthony for opening his eyes to the despair caused by hunger and helping him realize that he must do something about it.[7]. Hollings made headlines the year before when he toured poverty-stricken areas of South Carolina, often referred to as his "Hunger Tours." In February 1969, Hollings testified as to what he had seen on his fact-finding tours in front of the Senate Select Committee on Hunger and Human Needs. Charleston's News and Courier (now The Post and Courier) reported that "Senators, members of the press corps and visitors packed in the hearing room watched and listened in disbelief as Hollings detailed dozens of tragically poignant scenes of human suffering in his state."[8] Hollings recommended to the committee that free food stamps be distributed to the most needy, and just over a day later, Senator George McGovern announced that free food stamps would be distributed in South Carolina as part of a national pilot program for feeding the hungry.[9]

In the 1970s, Hollings joined with fellow senators Kennedy and Henry M. Jackson in a press conference to oppose President Gerald Ford's request that Congress end Richard Nixon's price controls on domestic oil, which had helped to cause the gasoline lines during the 1973 Oil Crisis.[10] Hollings said he believed ending the price controls (as was eventually done in 1981) would be a "catastrophe" that would cause "economic chaos."[10]

Presidential candidate

Hollings unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the presidential election of 1984. Hollings' wit and experience, as well as his call for a budget freeze, won him some positive attention, but his relatively conservative record alienated liberal Democrats, and he was never really noticed in a field dominated by Walter Mondale, John Glenn and Gary Hart. Hollings dropped out two days after losing badly in New Hampshire, and endorsed Hart a week later. His disdain for his competitors sometimes showed. He notably referred to Mondale as a "lapdog" and to former Astronaut Glenn as "Sky King" who was "confused in his capsule."[citation needed]

Later Senate career

During the 1988 Presidential primaries, Hollings endorsed Jesse Jackson.[11]

Hollings remained very popular in South Carolina over the years, even as the state became increasingly friendly to Republicans at the national level. In his first three bids for a full term, he never dropped below 60 percent of the vote. In the 1992 election, however, he faced an unexpectedly close race against former Congressman Tommy Hartnett in what was otherwise a very good year for Democrats nationally. Hartnett had represented the Charleston area in Congress from 1981 to 1987, thus making him Hollings' congressman. His appeal in the Lowcountry — traditionally a swing region at the state level — enabled him to hold Hollings to only 50 percent of the vote.

In his last Senate race in 1998, Hollings faced Republican congressman Bob Inglis. One of the more heated and notable moments of the race was a newspaper interview in which Hollings referred to Inglis as a "goddamn skunk". Hollings was re-elected 52%-45%.

On January 7, 2003, Hollings introduced the controversial Universal National Service Act of 2006, which would require all men and women aged 18–26 (with some exceptions) to perform a year of military service.

Senator Ernest Hollings

On August 4, 2003, he announced that he would not run for re-election in November 2004. Republican Jim DeMint succeeded him.

As a senator, Hollings was noted for his support for legislation in the interests of the established media distribution industry (such as the proposed "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act"). His hard-line support of various client-side computer restrictions such as DRM and Trusted computing led the Fritz chip (a microchip that enforces such restrictions) to be nicknamed after him. Hollings also sponsored the Online Personal Privacy Act.[12]

In his later career, Hollings was generally considered to be a moderate politically but was supportive of many civil rights bills. He voted for re-authorizing the Voting Rights Act in 1982. However, in 1967 he was one of the 11 senators who voted against the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice.[13] Hollings later voted in favor of the failed nomination of Robert Bork and also for the successful nomination of Clarence Thomas.

On fiscal issues, he was generally conservative, and was one of the primary sponsors of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, an attempt to enforce limits on government spending.

Hollings and Howell Heflin of Alabama were the only two Democratic senators to vote against the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.[14]


When Hollings embarked on tours of poor areas of South Carolina in 1968 and 1969 and testified as to his findings before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, he was accused of drawing unwanted attention to South Carolina when other states — North and South — also faced extreme poverty. Hollings knew South Carolina was not alone in its struggle and thought that if any politician was going to investigate hunger in South Carolina, it was going to at least be a South Carolinian. After a tour of an East Charleston slum, he said, "I don't want Romney and Kennedy coming here to look at my slums. As a matter of fact when I get caught up with my work, I think I may go look at the slums of Boston."[15] For his efforts, Hollings was also accused of "scheming for the negro vote." Hollings, who had seen plenty of white hunger and poverty and slums on his tours, responded, "You just don't make political points on hunger. The poor aren't registered to vote and they won't vote."[16]

In 1981, Hollings had to apologize to fellow Democrat Howard Metzenbaum after Hollings referred to him as the "senator from B'nai B'rith" on the floor. Metzenbaum, who was Jewish, raised a point of personal privilege and Hollings's remarks were stricken from the record.

Hollings would become popular for the wrong reasons among fans of the MTV animated series Beavis and Butt-head after he said to Janet Reno; "We've got this...what is it...Buffcoat and Beaver or Beaver and something else. I haven't seen it, I don't watch it, but whatever it is, it was at 7, Buffcoat, and they put it on now at 10:30".[17] After the remark, mispronouncing Beavis and Butt-head's names became a running gag on the show.

In 1993, Hollings told reporters that he attended international summits because, “Everybody likes to go to Geneva. I used to do it for the Law of the Sea conferences and you'd find those potentates from down in Africa, you know, rather than eating each other, they'd just come up and get a good square meal in Geneva.”

Hollings penned a controversial editorial in the May 6, 2004 The Post and Courier, where he argued that Bush invaded Iraq possibly because "spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats."[18]

Post political life

In retirement, Hollings continues to write opinion editorials for newspapers around South Carolina and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. In 2008, the University of South Carolina Press published Making Government Work, a book authored by Hollings with Washington, D.C., journalist Kirk Victor, imparting Hollings' view on the changes needed in Washington. Among other things, the book recommends a dramatic decrease in the amount of campaign spending. It also attacks free trade policies as inherently destructive, suggesting that certain protectionist measures have built the United States, and only a few parties actually benefit from free trade, such as large manufacturing corporations.[19]

Hollings started the Hollings Scholarship in 2005. This scholarship gives over 100 undergraduates from around the country a 10 week internship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a monetary scholarship for the school year.

Hollings helped to establish the Hollings Center for International Dialogue, an organization working to promote peace in the Middle East through small-scale conferences.

Hollings is on the Board of Advisors of the Charleston School of Law and is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law there.[20] He delivered the commencement address to the first graduating class there on May 19, 2007.[21]


[citation needed]

On stubbornness:

"There's no education in the second kick of a mule."

To opponents of government regulation:

"Letting y'all regulate yourselves is like delivering lettuce by way of a rabbit."

On his marriage:

"People always wonder how Peatsy and I stay together, with so many divorces around us. And a friend of ours used to say, 'It's simple. They have a lot in common. They're both in love with the same fella.' "

[During her husband's campaign for his party's presidential nomination in 1984, a reporter called their hotel room and asked to speak to Senator Hollings. Mrs. Hollings held the phone away from her mouth and said, "Hey, mister, you Hollings?"]

Responding to a Republican challenger who dared him to take a drug test:

"I'll take a drug test if you take an I.Q. test."

While debating John Glenn, the former astronaut:

"But what have you done in this world?"

On President Bush's effort to distance himself from the Enron scandal:

"I did not have political relations with that man, Ken Lay."

"I've never seen a better example of cash-and-carry government than this Bush administration and Enron."

On former Senator Phil Gramm's habit of hogging the spotlight:

"If you want a lesson in political anonymity, sponsor a bill with Phil Gramm."

On international trade:

"We hear those in the national Congress running around and saying, 'Free trade, free trade, I am for free trade,' when they know free trade is like dry water. There is no such thing."

On the media:

John Dewey, the educator said, no, no, let the free press report the truth to the American people and the needs will be reflected, to the congressmen and senators in Washington. And he was right. But they’re not telling the truth anymore. They all were doing the headlines rather than headway. They’re all getting by with perceptions; they’re all getting by with pollster politics. They’re not talking about the needs.”[22]

Further information

Senator Hollings played a Southern senator, Senator Marquand, whom Al Pacino attempts to woo in order to land the Democratic convention in the 1996 film City Hall.

Because of Strom Thurmond's longevity and length of service, Senator Hollings spent 36 years as the junior senator from South Carolina, despite having seniority over the vast majority of his peers. He was the senior senator from South Carolina for only the last two years of his Senate service while serving alongside Lindsey Graham.

Electoral history

South Carolina U.S. Senate Election 1992
DemocraticFritz Hollings (incumbent)591,03050.07
RepublicanThomas Hartnett554,17546.95
LibertarianMark Johnson22,9621.95
South Carolina U.S. Senate Election 1998
DemocraticFritz Hollings (incumbent)562,79152.68
RepublicanBob Inglis488,13245.69


  1. ^ Hollings, Ernest with Kirk Victor (2008). Making Government Work. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press. p. 9. 
  2. ^ Once A Soldier...Always A Soldier: Soldiers in the 108th Congress. Arlington, Virginia: Association of the United States Army. 2003. p. 16. 
  3. ^ Watson, Inez (Ed.) (1953). South Carolina's Legislative Manual (34th ed.). Columbia, S.C.: General Assembly. p. 72. 
  4. ^ "Finding Aid for the Gubernatorial Papers of the Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings Collection". South Carolina Political Collections of the University of South Carolina. Retrieved September 14, 2009. http://www.sc.edu/library/scpc/Gubernatorial.pdf. 
  5. ^ Address by Governor Ernest F. Hollings to the General Assembly of South Carolina, January 9, 1963, p. 8-9, http://digital.tcl.sc.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/how&CISOPTR=291&REC=2, part of the University of South Carolina's Digital Collection, "Fritz Hollings: In His Own Words."
  6. ^ http://users.bestweb.net/~rg/execution/SO%20CAROLINA.htm
  7. ^ Hollings, Ernest (1970). The Case Against Hunger: A Demand for a National Policy. New York: Cowles Book Company, Inc.. ISBN 402126114. 
  8. ^ Pyatt, Rudolph (1969-02-23). "The Beginning of a Rennaissance (sic) in Dixie". Charleston, S.C.: News and Courier. 
  9. ^ Ibid.
  10. ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 321. ISBN 0465041957. 
  11. ^ Our Campaigns - US President - D Primaries Race - Feb 01, 1988
  12. ^ (S. 2201)
  13. ^ http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/240_1967.pdf
  14. ^ U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote
  15. ^ Robertson, Glenn (1968-01-11). "Hollings 'Angered' by Tour of Slums." Charleston, S.C.: Evening Post.
  16. ^ Pyatt, "The Beginning of a Rennaissance [sic] in Dixie?".
  17. ^ "Dude... This Sucks– We mourn the loss of fresh Beavis and Butt-Head episodes". EW.com Television News. August 15, 1997. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,289100,00.html. 
  18. ^ http://www.wistv.com/global/story.asp?s=1878931
  19. ^ Hollings, Ernest with Kirk Victor (2008). Making Government Work. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press. 
  20. ^ "Board of Advisors webpage". Charleston School of Law. Retrieved September 1, 2009. http://www.charlestonlaw.edu/v.php?pg=20. 
  21. ^ "Hollings to Address First Graduation Class". Reprint from The Citadel of an article from The State (newspaper) online. March 25, 2007. http://photo05.citadel.edu/pao/newsclips/archive20062007/21072.pdf. 
  22. ^ “Fritz Hollings on Making Government Work”, Bill Moyers Journal, July 25, 2008

External links

Find more about Ernest Hollings on Wikipedia's sister projects:

Quotations from Wikiquote
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Political offices
Preceded by
George Bell Timmerman
Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Burnet R. Maybank, Jr.
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Donald S. Russell
Preceded by
Edmund S. Muskie
Chairman of Senate Budget Committee
Succeeded by
Pete Domenici
New Mexico
Preceded by
John Danforth
Chairman of Senate Commerce Committee
Succeeded by
Larry Pressler
South Dakota
Preceded by
John McCain
Chairman of Senate Commerce Committee
Succeeded by
John McCain
United States Senate
Preceded by
Donald S. Russell
United States Senator (Class 3) from South Carolina
Served alongside: J. Strom Thurmond, Lindsey Graham
Succeeded by
Jim DeMint


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