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Published: Tuesday, 12/10/2002

Several other Toledoans answered nation's calling

BY FRITZ WENZEL
BLADE POLITICAL WRITER

As CSX Chairman John Snow stepped forward yesterday to meet reporters as President Bush's new choice to run the U.S. Treasury Department, he became a man destined to follow in the footsteps of others.

If confirmed by the Senate, he will become the President's second Treasury secretary.

If confirmed, he will become the second Toledoan to serve in the position.

The first was John Wesley Snyder, a vice president in charge of finance for the Toledo-based Willys-Overland Motors Inc., who was named to the Treasury post by President Harry Truman in June, 1946.

Mr. Snyder, whose friendship with Mr. Truman was forged during their time together in the Army during World War I, was the government's top financial man from 1946 to 1953 as the United States worked to rebuild war-torn Europe and Japan.

Unlike Mr. Snow's early professions of support yesterday for a new round of Bush tax cuts, Mr. Snyder, facing a huge post-war deficit, voiced adamant opposition to tax cuts during appearances before congressional committees.

Several other Toledoans have made marks on the national political scene:

  • Morrison Waite, who moved to Toledo in 1850 at the age of 34, is the only Toledoan to receive an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. A lawyer who practiced in Toledo and Maumee with his brother, Richard, Morrison Waite remains memorialized by the East Toledo high school that bears his name and by Morrison Drive, a street that runs alongside it. He was appointed to the nation's high court on March 8, 1874, by President Ulysses S. Grant.

  • Brand Whitlock, a former Toledo mayor in the early 1900s, won worldwide fame as the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, in large part for his entreaties to the German government in the early part of World War I to spare the lives of those Belgians imprisoned or condemned by the Germans during their invasion.

    He prevailed on Belgian authorities not to try to defend the city of Brussels against advancing German forces, and thereby saved many lives. The Belgian king later thanked him for the action, and a boulevard in Brussels was named in his honor.

    Mr. Whitlock was a prot g ' of Samuel “Golden Rule” Jones, who was mayor at the turn of the century and has been ranked as one of the Top five mayors in the history of the United States.

  • Walter Folger Brown was another powerful figure who rode Toledo roots to national acclaim. The son of an attorney who founded a Toledo law firm at the end of the Civil War, Mr. Brown rose to prominence in the Republican Party. He won national attention as the floor manager for Warren G. Harding during the 1920 GOP National Convention in Chicago.

    He went on to be the closest political adviser to President Herbert Hoover, who named him postmaster general after his election. When Democrats swept to power in Washington in 1932, Mr. Brown's political fortunes began to wane. After his defeat for re-election to a seat on the Republican National Committee in 1936, he severed ties to the world of politics. In 1947, 82 years after his father first began his Toledo law practice, Postmaster Brown returned to town to join the law firm known today as Spengler Nathanson PLL, located on Madison Avenue.

  • Foy David Kohler was a Scott High School graduate who became a well-traveled career diplomat, serving as U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Mr. Kohler was also present for the 1959 “Kitchen Debate” between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and then-Vice President Richard Nixon.

    He first went to Moscow in 1947 as first secretary at the U.S. Embassy and was on hand when Mr. Khrushchev and Mr. Nixon toured a model American kitchen during a 1959 American exposition there. Mr. Khrushchev became angry, and the ensuing debate between him and Mr. Nixon drew international attention.

    Despite the missile crisis that brought the world to the brink of war, Mr. Kohler said he maintained respect for the Soviet leader.

  • Michael DiSalle, like Mr. Snyder, won appointment to a national post by President Truman. Mr. DiSalle, a former Toledo mayor, was the only Toledoan to be elected governor of Ohio. In December, 1950, Mr. Truman named Mr. DiSalle to the Office of Director of Price Stabilization, which imposed government controls on prices as deemed necessary by the government. Mr. DiSalle, who served in the national post until February, 1952, was elected governor six years later.

    Contrary to his earlier government work to keep costs down, he became known as “Tax Hike Mike” for his aggressive plan to raise Ohio taxes and increase the state biennial budget by $500 million - an amount equivalent to more than $3 billion today.



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