Clyde R. Hoey, Governor, U.S. Senator

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Clyde Roark Hoey

Birthdate: (77)
Death: 1954 (77)
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Alberta Hoey and Mary Charlotte Catherine Roark
Husband of Bessie Gardner

Managed by: Private User
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About Clyde R. Hoey, Governor, U.S. Senator

Clyde Roark Hoey (December 11, 1877 in Shelby, North Carolina – May 12, 1954 in Washington, D.C.) was a Democratic politician from North Carolina. He served in both houses of the state legislature and served briefly in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1919 to 1921. He was North Carolina's governor from 1937 to 1941. He entered the U.S. Senate in 1945 and served there until his death.

Hoey (HOO-ee) was born to S. A. Hoey and Mary Roark. He attended school until age eleven. He worked on his family's farm and bought a weekly newspaper when he was 16. He was elected to the State Legislature when he was twenty. He served as a State Representative and then as a State Senator. He was elected in a special election to the United States House of Representatives to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Edwin Y. Webb who had accepted a Federal judgeship. He defeated a Republican who opposed United States support for the League of Nations. He served from 1919 to 1921.

He was the 59th Governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1937 to 1941. In July 1937, he pardoned Luke Lea, a Tennessee politician and former U.S. Senator, who had been paroled a year earlier. His appointment of a black man to the board of trustees of a black college set a precedent. Following the 1938 Gaines Supreme Court decision on racial segregation in higher education, he asked the North Carolina legislature to provide for segregated higher education for blacks. Though opposed to integrated education, he said that the people of the state "do believe in equality of opportunity in their respective fields of service" and that "the white race cannot afford to do less than simple justice to the Negro."

In 1940, he quietly opposed a third term for FDR. When he believed that President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not seek a third term, Hoey rejected the favorite son role for which the state legislature had recommended him and supported the presidential candidacy of Secretary of State Cordell Hull.

Hoey won election to the U.S. Senate in 1944. He served from 1945 until his death in 1954.

Hoey's politics were those of a conservative Democratic. He opposed Harry S. Truman's attempt to make the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) permanent. He promised to filibuster the effort as an attack on "the rights of every businessman in America." He supported the President's threats against striking railroad workers in December 1946. In the 1948 election, he supported Truman over the radical alternative Strom Thurmond.

He supported President Truman's refusal to allow Congress access to records of government employees' loyalty investigations.

In 1950, Hoey opposed statehood for Hawaii because he thought it "inconceivable" to allow a territory with "only a small percentage of white people" to become a state. He advocated independence for Hawaii and cited U.S. treatment of Cuba and the Philippines as precedents.

He 1949-1952 he headed the Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments. He conducted hearings into the role of "five percenters," government influence peddlers. In 1950 he chaired an investigation that resulted in a report known as the Hoey Report released in December of that year that said all of the government's intelligence agencies "are in complete agreement that sex perverts in Government constitute security risks." A later review by the U.S. Navy in 1957 criticized it: "No intelligence agency, as far as can be learned, adduced any factual data before that committee with which to support these opinions."

Hoey married Bessie Gardner, sister of North Carolina Governor O. Max Gardner. They had three children. His wife died in 1942.

Hoey died at his desk in his Washington, D.C., office. Sam Ervin was appointed to his seat in June 1954.


In 1974, journalist Jonathan Daniels assessed Hoey's politics "He was always satisfactory to conservative interests without being abrasive to New Dealers." Hoey Auditorium on the campus of Western Carolina University is named after him, as is Hoey Hall, a dormitory at Appalachian State University.

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Clyde R. Hoey, Governor, U.S. Senator's Timeline

Age 77