Congressman John E. Fogarty, 1913-1967, was one of Rhode Island’s longest serving congressmen. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representative’s in 1940 as a New Deal Democrat, and died in office in January of 1967. During his long career he earned the nickname “Mr. Public Health” for his support of federal funding for medical research, especially to the National Institute for Health. Although he was a bricklayer by trade, Fogarty supported many educational initiatives, especially increased funding for library development.
Fogarty was born in Providence on March 23, 1913. He attended La Salle Academy and Providence College, before settling in Harmony. He was first employed as a bricklayer and was also active in Rhode Island’s Bricklayers Union Number 1, becoming President of the union.
During World War II, Fogarty, as a member of the Naval Affairs Committee, traveled with, worked with and observed a Seabee battalion in the Pacific Theater from December, 1944 to February, 1945.