With the announcement Friday of Jay Rockefeller's retirement from the Senate, an era of American politics comes to a close. As National Journal's Matthew Cooper writes, "It marks the end of the old money and nationally known dynasties in the Senate." Names don't get more recognizable than Rockefeller, which even decades after the family's historical peak, still adorns plazas and museums in New York City.
Who might replace Rockefeller in the Senate? Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, has already said she'll run in 2014. More on her here.
So what did Rockefeller accomplish during his last 29 years in the Senate? Below, compiled from the Almanac of American Politics, are the highlights of Rockefeller's life and career.
Yes, he's one of THOSE Rockefellers
- Rockefeller's full name, John D. Rockefeller IV, has a familiar ring to those who remember his great-grandfather as the oil billionaire who was America's richest man, and his grandfather as the heir who had more than enough money to build New York's Rockefeller Center, restore Colonial Williamsburg, and found the Museum of Modern Art during the Depression.
- Two of his uncles became governors — Nelson, governor of New York for 15 years and a man of great building projects and fitful presidential ambitions; and Winthrop, who moved to impoverished and out-of-the-way Arkansas and served four years as a reform governor when the state needed it most.
- Rockefeller grew up in New York, graduated from Harvard, and lived and studied in Japan for three years. He worked for a year in Washington running the early Peace Corps program in the Philippines. Then, like so many of the elite of those years, he turned his attention from abroad to home, and in 1964 went to the impoverished hill country of West Virginia to work as a VISTA volunteer in Emmons on the Big Coal River.