House to Give Albert Rare Honor With Bust in Capitol

Posted March 2, 2004 at 5:25pm

A bipartisan group of House Members will unveil a bronze bust of the late Democratic Speaker Carl Albert (Okla.) in the Capitol today, making him the sixth former Speaker to receive the honor.

The Sooner State Congressional delegation, led by Rep. Ernest Istook (R), asked current Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to allow the statue to be placed in the Capitol to commemorate their fellow Oklahoman and longtime House leader. Albert, who died in February 2000, served as Speaker from 1971 to 1976 after having held the Majority Whip and Majority Leader offices.

The ceremony, which Hastert helped organize, will be held at 5 p.m. today in Statuary Hall. Oklahoma artist Paul Moore donated the bronze statue, which will sit among other busts between the House chamber and Statuary Hall.

“Carl Albert was an extraordinary man who served our country and the state of Oklahoma during a difficult time during our nation’s history,” said Istook, who will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event. “This is a great honor for both the former Speaker and for all Oklahomans.”

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who also will attend Wednesday’s unveiling, said: “Speaker Albert exemplified the epitome of public service. Very few Members have served as Majority Whip, Majority Leader and also Speaker of the House, while maintaining such a humble yet effective touch. Considering Speaker Albert’s lengthy leadership and numerous accomplishments for both the state of Oklahoma and the nation, I think it’s very appropriate that we honor him in this fashion.”

All former Speakers are honored in the Speaker’s Lobby with a portrait, but just five have a separate statue in the Capitol. Former Speakers Joseph Cannon (R-Ill.), James “Champ” Clark (D-Mo.), Nicholas Longworth (R-Ohio), Joseph Martin (R-Mass.) and Thomas Reed (R-Maine) have been commemorated with marble busts outside the House chamber.