A Senator from Kentucky; born near Owensboro, Daviess County, Ky., September 8, 1924; attended the public schools of Daviess County; attended the University of Kentucky 1942-1943; graduated, Maryland School of Insurance 1947; engaged in insurance business in Kentucky; served in the United States Army 1944-1946; Kentucky National Guard 1942-1962; chief assistant to Kentucky Governor 1959-1961; member, State senate 1965-1967; lieutenant governor 1967-1971; Governor of Kentucky 1971-1974; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in November 1974 for the term commencing January 3, 1975; subsequently appointed by the Governor, December 28, 1974, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Marlow W. Cook for the term ending January 3, 1975; reelected in 1980, 1986, and again in 1992 for the term ending January 3, 1999; not a candidate for reelection in 1998; Democratic whip 1991-1999; chairman, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences (Ninety-fifth Congress), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (Ninety-fifth through Ninety-seventh Congresses), Select Committee to Study the Committee System (Ninety-eighth Congress), Committee on Rules and Administration (One Hundredth through One Hundred Third Congresses), Joint Committee on Printing (One Hundred First and One Hundred Third Congresses).
Sen. Wendell H. Ford, former United States Senator from Kentucky and Senior Advisor with Dickstein Shapiro’s Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Group. Upon leaving office, Sen. Ford was the second-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, serving as Minority Whip. He has been known as a national leader on energy, aviation, and federal election reform. Sen. Tim Hutchinson, former United States Senator from Arkansas and Senior Advisor with Dickstein Shapiro’s Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Group. While on the Hill, Sen. Hutchinson served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Education and Labor Committee, the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Richard W. Fields, Partner in the Insurance Coverage Practice of Dickstein Shapiro. He focuses his practice on insurance coverage issues, complex dispute resolution, terrorist financing, and human rights issues. Over the course of his career, Mr. Fields has recovered several billion dollars for numerous Fortune 500 clients whose insurance claims have been disputed by insurers. Robert J. Mangas, Partner in the Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Group of Dickstein Shapiro. His practice includes food and nutrition, healthcare, tax policy, tobacco, energy, aviation, homeland security, and environmental legislation. Mr. Mangas was involved directly in crafting landmark federal tobacco policy reform legislation, among other issues, while serving as Chief of Staff to Sen. Wendell Ford. Milton A. Marquis, Partner in the Complex Dispute Resolution Practice of Dickstein Shapiro. Mr. Marquis has developed an active antitrust and state government practice and served for 14 years at the U.S. Department of Justice and the offices of the Attorneys General of Virginia and Massachusetts, where he handled litigation involving many industries, including soft drink, automobile, retail, agriculture, healthcare, and waste disposal. Bernard Nash, Partner and head of the State Government Compliance and Litigation Practice of Dickstein Shapiro. His practice focuses on corporate counseling, public policy, litigation, and State Attorney General issues. As counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly from 1971 to 1977, Mr. Nash was responsible for drafting the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act of 1976. Deborah A. Skakel, Partner in the Business Litigation Practice of Dickstein Shapiro. Her practice focuses on a wide array of complex civil litigation matters, and she also has substantive experience handling accounting and auditing issues, real estate matters, and regulatory and other issues relating to the alcohol beverage industry. L. Andrew Zausner, Partner and head of the Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Group of Dickstein Shapiro, and an acknowledged authority on tobacco legislation and energy policy.
After retiring from the Senate in 1999, Mr. Ford was a consultant with a Washington lobbying firm, Dickstein Shapiro.
His major post-Senate enterprise, however, was the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History in Owensboro, the Ohio River city where he was born. Each year, as many as 10,000 Kentucky high school students spend a day among exhibits and interactive displays about the state’s political and economic history. Well into his 80s, he campaigned for Democratic candidates.
He is survived by his wife, the former Jean Neel, whom he married in 1943; a son, Steven; a daughter, Shirley Dexter; a sister, Betty John Sharpe; a brother, Reyburn; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.