Harding, Ex-House SAA, Dies

Posted October 9, 2007 at 6:26pm

Kenneth Harding, a former House Sergeant-at-Arms, died of pneumonia last week at his home in Ormond Beach, Fla. He was 93.

Harding became the House’s top law enforcement official in the 1970s, coming into office just as the Watergate scandal broke. He stayed in that position until 1980, when he retired and moved to Florida.

As Sergeant-at-Arms, Harding oversaw House security and floor decorum, but also cracked down on self-guided tours and kicked out vendors who had set up shop near the Capitol Reflecting Pool, according to The Washington Post. The tours, he once said, created “almost a logjam of humanity in the corridors,” according to the Post.

He also was well-versed in the political horse race: Earlier, he was director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for 18 years.

Born in 1914 in Medina, N.Y., Harding became a colonel of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and attended The George Washington University, earning his law degree in 1937 (without ever obtaining a bachelor’s). He had four sons with wife Jane Wedderburn, who died in 2005. He is survived by four children, wife Ruth and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

— Emily Yehle