Gene Snyder

Marion Eugene "Gene" Snyder (January 26, 1928 – February 16, 2007) was an American politician elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives from two different districts in Kentucky.

Snyder was born in Louisville and attended public schools there, having graduated from duPont Manual High School. He studied at the University of Louisville and graduated from the Jefferson School of Law. He began a career as a lawyer in Louisville in 1950. He became the city attorney in Jeffersontown in 1954, a post that he held for some four years. Snyder was elected as the magistrate for the first district of Jefferson County in the fall of 1957 and was re-elected in 1961. He also had several business interests in farming, real estate, insurance, and construction.

Snyder was elected to the House of Representatives from Kentucky's 3rd congressional district, based in Louisville, in 1962. He was one of the few Republicans to vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A Barry M. Goldwater supporter, he was unseated in 1964 after only one term by former Louisville Mayor Charlie Farnsley, amid the gigantic Lyndon B. Johnson-Hubert H. Humphrey Democratic landslide that year.

Snyder immediately prepared for a run against 11-term incumbent Frank Chelf in 1966. The 4th was rapidly trending Republican because of an influx of new residents from Cincinnati. He took full advantage of this trend and defeated Chelf by almost eight points. He was reelected nine times from this district. In 1984 Democrat Pat Mulloy ran a surprisingly strong campaign and almost unseated Snyder; only Ronald Reagan's landslide win in Kentucky (by almost twenty points) helped Snyder remain in office. Rather than face Mulloy again, Snyder chose not to seek re-election in 1986.

In 1982, Congressman Snyder secured federal funds to build a beltway around Louisville. For this reason, a portion of I-265 was named for him. The federal courthouse building in Louisville and a general aviation airport near Falmouth, Kentucky (K62) also bear his name.

Snyder died in Naples, Florida in 2007.

By Dean Hanley

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