Former U.S. Sen. Bill Brock dies at 90

Former Sen. Bill Brock (R-Chattanooga) speaks with U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville), right, at a reception before the state Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner on June 15, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former U.S. Sen. Bill Brock (R-Chattanooga) has died at age 90, according to a family spokesman.

Brock defeated incumbent Democrat Albert Gore Sr. in 1970, but lost his re-election bid to Democrat Jim Sasser six years later.

Brock went on to head the Republican National Committee before embarking on another bid for the Senate in 1994, this time in Maryland. He won the GOP nomination, but lost to incumbent Democrat Paul Sarbanes.

Here is the family obituary:

Former Tennessee Senator Bill Brock, who served in both chambers Congress and as a Cabinet member, passed away today at the age of 90 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida peacefully, surrounded by his family.

Brock spent eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1962 to 1970, becoming the first Republican to hold the Third Congressional District seat in 40 years. In 1970, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He also served as U.S. Trade Representative and Labor Department Secretary during the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

He was elected Chair of the Republican National Committee, rebuilding the GOP through grass roots efforts that welcomed people of different races, backgrounds, and perspectives. 

Brock co-chaired the National Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce and chaired the Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills which set a new course for elementary and secondary education. He received the National Academy of Human Resources highest tribute and recognition for outstanding achievement in advancing human development.

He was as a Senior Counselor and Member of the Board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he chaired the International Policy Roundtable.

Born and raised in Chattanooga, TN, Bill Brock graduated from McCallie School in 1949, attended Washington & Lee University, earning a BS in Commerce in 1953. When Brock returned from serving 2 years in the Navy, he went to work in his family’s candy company.  Like his parents and grandparents, Sen. Brock was called to serve in his community and became active in the Chattanooga Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Sen. Brock is survived by his wife, Sandra Schubert Brock; two brothers, Paul “Pat” Brock and Frank Brock; six children and step-children, 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

4 Responses to Former U.S. Sen. Bill Brock dies at 90

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    Kenneth Jordan says:

    A truly great American. May he Rest In Peace.

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    Missy S says:

    He was also Reagan’s Sec of Labor

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    Eddie White says:

    1970 brings back memories. As a 10 year old living in Smith County, it was a big deal when Brock beat the Smith County native son , Al Gore Sr. I remember the annual watermelon cutting political event attended by Bill Brock and Pauline Gore at the Smith County fairgrounds during the campaign. I made a special effort to shake hands with Brock. Gore had simply moved too far to the left for many Tennesseans. Brock , along with Winfield Dunn was able to capitalize on the conservative mood in the state.

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    David Collins says:

    What Republicans never realized at the time was the fact that in 1970, Bill Brock and Winfield Dunn weren’t elected–Al Gore, Sr, and John J. Hooker were rejected. There is a HUGE difference. Six years later, most folks expected Brock to easily win reelection but political newcomer Jim Sasser retired him from the Senate. Then in 1986, because of his whooping of Hooker in 1970, Republicans thought Dunn to be an easy victor over Ned Ray McWherter. But McWherter carried heavily Republican areas even in far east Tennessee. Part of the east Tennessee rejection of Dunn could be attributed to his opposition when Governor to the East Tennessee Medical School but comparison of the vote from 1970 to 1986 I think evidences what I stated before. There is a big difference from being elected by the voters and simply being the result of the other guy being rejected. Just my opinion.

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