|Name||Maynard Edward "Jack" Sensenbrenner|
Columbus, Ohio , United States
|| September 18, 1902
|| August 02, 1991
|Last Modifed||Thomas Walker|
Sep 19, 2005 11:00am
Caucasian - Married - Presbyterian - Straight -
|Info||Every city in America seems to have a Mayor who is a bit larger than life. A person who you think of automatically when you hear the name of a city. For Columbus, Ohio, that Mayor was Maynard E. "Jack" Sensenbrenner. |
Jack was the consumate politician. He lived, ate and breathed the office, and enlivened CVolumbus which a spirit and vibrancy which was contagious.
He was elected Mayor four times, and no Mayor has served as long as his 14 years in City Hall.
His record was not without blemish, however. He was defeated in both 1960 and 1971 for Mayor, and launched a disastrous run for the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination in 1958.
A poem which Sensenbrenner loved to recite (in fact he did so over 17 thousand times, started with the words:
"A man of words and not of deeds
is like a garden full of weeds."
Maynard E. Sensenbrenner and his twin brother Marion were born in Circleville, Ohio on September 18, 1902.
Sensenbrenner joked that in High School he was voted "Most Likely to Hang".
Sensenbrenner married Mildred Harriet Sexauer, whose Uncle was Mayor of Lancaster. Ohio for years. They married in Glendale, California in 1927.
Sensenbrenner went to a Bible School in Los Angeles, initially hoping to be like his twin brother and become a minister.
While in California, Sensenbrenner made his one big screen appearance, as an extra in the silent film version of Ben Hur.
The Sensenbrenners returned to Circleville in 1934, and not long after that relocated to the westside of Columbus, Ohio, where they stayed most of the rest of their lives. They had two sons.
Sensenbrenner was active in community affairs, served on the ohio civil service commisiion, and received the silver buffalo from the boy scouts of america, that organizations highest award.
Sensenbrenner served as Mayor of Columbus from 1954-1959, and again from 1964-71. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1956 and 1960. He was a member of the Presbyterian faith. Jack belonged to the Elks, Kiwanis and Moose. Sensenbrenner named his unique brand of enthusiasm "Spizzerinctum".
When he ran for Mayor the first time, Sensenbrenner stated : "I got confidence that everyone will be a Democrat when they learn to read."
Sensenbrenner was expected to be a sacrificial lamb for Mayor, but he worked hard during that first campaign, giving as many as ten speeches a night. Sensenbrenner was also the first politician in Columbus to take to the airwaves in the new media of television, running 15 minute commercials two weeks in a row just before the election.
This campaign is where Sensenbrenner picked up one of his campaign tactics which he used the rest of his career. He would read newspaper obituaries daily, make a list, then stop to pay his respects to families. He also sent notes of congratulations to new parents in Columbus, which he continued to do upon becoming Mayor.
Sensenbrenner defeated incumbent Mayor Robert Oestreicher in that contest by less than 400 votes.
Upon becoming Mayor, Sensenbrenner pursued an agenda of housing for poor and elderly citizens; developed a first class park system, and built the Columbus Zoo up to a world class institution.
Sensenbrenner was reelected in 1956. His longest lasting legacy as Mayor was expansion of the area of Columbus, and making sure that Columbus would not face being landlocked in. Jack ensured that Columbus would always be able to bargain from a position of strength. When he took office in 1954, Columbus had an area of 41.8 square miles. When he left office in 1972, it was more than 146 square miles.
Jack launched a disastrous campaign in 1958, seeking the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination in Ohio. He finished in the single digits, and finished fifth out of seven candidates, and one of the two candidates he beat out was a fellow Columbusite, whose political resume only includes a horrendous finish in a race for school board.
Even though Columbus won an All-America City Award by the next election, by 1960, Columbus was ready for a change. The failed run for Governor, as well as a flood striking the city in 1959 spelled doom for reelection for Mayor Sensenbrenner. All that in a year when his political mentor, John F. Kennedy, was achieving a victory for U S President nationwide.
In 1964, Sensenbrenner came back and won his rematch with Ralston Westlake.
In 1967, Sensenbrenner won his 4th term as Mayor, capturing over 70% of the vote.
By 1971, times had changed, and Columbus was once again ready for a change. Sensenbrenner ran a close but losing race against Municipal Judge Tom Moody. Polling showed that Republican Moody was elected with the support of both the African American and the Youth community.
Years later, honors began to come in.
In 1980, Sensenbrenner Park was dedicated (it is located near the downtown, scioto river area). A few years later, a statue of Sensenbrenner was erected in Glenwood Park on the Westside/Hilltop of Columbus.
During the 1983 race for Mayor, Sensenbrenner appeared in television commercials endorsing Dana G Buck Rinehart, the Republican candidate, for Mayor of Columbus.
Sensenbrenner's Grandson, Richard, has served time in recent years as a former member of the Columbus City Council.