Aime Joseph Forand was born on May 23, 1895 in Fall River, Massachusetts to Francois Xavier and MeliLuce Ruest Forand. Forand studied at public and Catholic schools in the state, and also attended the Magnus Commercial School in Providence, and Columbia University in New York.
At the age of twenty- three, he enlisted in the army and served as sergeant, first class, in the Motor Transport Corps of General John J. Pershing American Expeditionary Force. Stationed in France for the duration of the First World War, he was honorably discharged in July 1919.
Returning to his new residence in Central Falls, he embarked upon a political career in1922 by becoming a member of the Central Falls City Commission. Forand then served as his branch president of the Young Men Democratic League from 1923 to 1926. His hard work on behalf of his party paid off when he was elected as a Democratic representative to the Rhode Island General Assembly for two terms, from 1923-1927. From 1924 to 1930, Forand demonstrated his versatility by embarking upon a career as reporter for the Pawtucket and Woonsocket offices of Senator Peter Gerry Providence News and News-Tribune.
Forand earned the greatest recognition as a political figure. He first served as secretary to United States Representative Jeremiah E. O?Connell in 1929, and his successor, Francis B. Condon from 1930-1935. In 1936, he was elected to the Seventy-Fifth Congress from the First Congressional District, and although he was unsuccessful in his bid for reelection in 1938, a dismal year for nearly all Democratic officeholders, he regained his seat in 1940. He served his state in that capacity until his retirement in 1961.
As Rhode Island congressional representative, Forand accomplished a great deal. In 1941, he became speaker for the Democratic National Congressional Committee. Two years later, he lent his talents to the important House Ways and Means Committee, where he supported unemployment benefits for federal, state, and city employees, and advocated legislation to expand Social Security benefits for those dependent upon others for their livelihood. Chairman of both the House Democratic Caucus (1947) and the Board of Visitors to the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1948, he also received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Providence College in 1951.
Representative Forand is best remembered for his socialized medicine program aimed at improving the livelihood of senior citizens and the disabled. An amended version of his legislation which increased Social Security benefits by seven percent, was finally adopted by Congress in 1958.
He retired from the House in 1961, but continued to work on behalf of the elderly by establishing the National Council of Senior Citizens, Inc. which he served as its first president.
Forand then became a member of the federal Advisory Committee on Housing for Senior Citizens. He finally retired from public office in 1963 because of failing health but continued to lend his voice to the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Elks, and the Knights of Columbus, consistent with his Catholic faith. On January 18, 1972, at his retirement home in Boca Raton, Florida Aime Forand suffered a heart attack and died; he was survived by his wife, Gertrude B. Bedard Forand. He is interred in the Boca Raton Mausoleum. For his continued support of the elderly, disabled, and veterans, Aime Forand was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1970.
Forand Manor, a 204-unit senior affordable housing facility in Central Falls is dedicated in the congressman honor.
Debra A. Mulligan