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Blitch, Iris Faircloth (1912–1993)

Blitch, Iris Faircloth (1912–1993)

U.S. Representative, Democrat of Georgia, 84th–87th Congresses, January 3, 1955–January 3, 1963. Born

near Vidalia, Georgia, on April 25, 1912; died in San Diego, California, on August 19, 1993; interred in Pinelawn Cemetery, Homerville, Georgia; married Brooks E. Blitch, Jr., in October 1929.

Before her first unsuccessful run for the Georgia General Assembly in 1940, Iris Blitch worked with her husband Brooks E. Blitch, Jr., in several business endeavors, including pulpwood production and cattle and hog farming. She won election to the Georgia Senate in 1946 and to the state House of Representatives in 1948 but was defeated for reelection in 1950. She was elected to the state Senate again in 1952, at which time she also served the Democratic Party as secretary of the state executive committee and as a state representative on the National Committee. In 1954, she beat incumbent William M. Wheeler and began a tenure in the House of Representatives that would run four terms.

In March 1956, Blitch, along with 95 other senators and representatives from 11 southern states, signed the "Southern Manifesto," a pledge to work to reverse the 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing racial segregation in public schools. Her tenure in the House was also marked by efforts to encourage the growth of industry throughout Southern Georgia (and to protect her own district's jute-packing trade), through support of an amendment to the 1930 Tariff Act which made it more difficult for foreign-made jute to enter the country. Blitch did not run for a fifth term due to ill health. In 1964, she left the Democratic Party to support Republican presidential candidate Senator Barry M. Goldwater.

sources:

Office of the Historian. Women in Congress, 1917–1990. Commission on the Bicentenary of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1991.

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