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Charles Vanik
c. 1973
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1955 – January 3, 1969
Preceded by Robert Crosser
Succeeded by Louis Stokes
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by Frances P. Bolton
Succeeded by Dennis E. Eckart
Member of the Ohio State Senate

In office
Personal details
Born Charles Albert Vanik
(1913-04-07)April 7, 1913
Cleveland, Ohio
Died August 30, 2007(2007-08-30) (aged 94)
Jupiter, Florida
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Case Western Reserve University
CWRU School of Law
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch U.S. Naval Reserve
Battles/wars World War II

Charles Albert Vanik (April 7, 1913 – August 30, 2007) was a Democratic politician from Ohio. He served in the United States House of Representatives.

Early life

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Vanik completed undergraduate studies and a law degree at Western Reserve University. Vanik was of Czech ancestry.[1] After serving on the Cleveland City Council from 1938 to 1939 and the Ohio State Senate from 1940 to 1942, Vanik enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve, seeing action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. After the war, Vanik served as a city judge from 1946 to 1954.

United States House of Representatives

In 1954, he ran for Ohio's 21st congressional district. The district, located on Cleveland's East Side, was evenly divided between African Americans, who were solidly Republican and whites, who were mostly Democrats.[2] In the Democratic primary, Vanik defeated longtime incumbent Congressman Robert Crosser as well as African-American challenger John Holly, founder of the Negro Future Outlook League.[3][4] In the general election, Vanik defeated African-American Republican Francis E. Young, who helped organize the Cleveland branch of the NAACP.[2] Vanik shifted districts in 1968 to the neighboring Ohio's 22nd congressional district|22nd district, to make way for Louis Stokes whose growing political operation had challenged him in previous races, defeating Frances P. Bolton, who had served the district since 1939. Vanik served in the district until 1981.

In 1974, Vanik sponsored the Jackson-Vanik amendment with Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, which denied normal trade relations to certain countries with non-market economies that restricted the freedom of emigration. The amendment was intended to allow refugees, particularly religious minorities, to escape from the Soviet Bloc. During this time, Vanik was the chair of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.

He used to insert into the Congressional Record what he called the "Annual Corporate Tax Study" in which he'd list corporations that paid little to no federal income taxes.

In 1982, Vanik contested for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant-governor of Ohio as running mate with Ohio Attorney General William J. Brown who was running for governor. The ticket lost to Richard F. Celeste and Myrl Shoemaker. Vanik was known for wearing black bow ties with every suit.


Vanik died in his sleep on August 30, 2007 at his home in Jupiter, Florida. He was 94. He was survived by his wife, Betty, one son, one daughter and two grandchildren.


  1. American Presidents, Religion, and Israel: The Heirs of Cyrus By Paul Charles Merkley pg 68.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Three More Negroes May Win Congress Seats This November" Chicago 1954-08-19 pp. 6–7 Retrieved 2014-07-04 "In the balanced 21st district (50 per cent Negro, 50 per cent white vote), Negroes vote mostly Republican, whites Democratic." 
  3. "VANIK, CHARLES ALBERT" Retrieved 2016-11-16 "Vanik defeated long-time Congressman ROBERT CROSSER in the Democratic Primary in 1954." 
  4. "22 Negroes Win Primary Nominations" Chicago 1954-05-20 pp. 3–4 Retrieved 2014-07-04 "Young, active in civic affairs, will face Charles A. Vanik, a white municipal court judge, who edged out John Holly, founder of the Negro Future Outlook League, in the Democratic primary." 

External links

Congressman Charles A. Vanik (third from left) and Congressman Mo Udall (second from right) visit a Samsonite plant in Ambos Nogales, a link in the "twin plant" concept that has created hundreds of jobs for communities on both sides of the international boundary, 1978

  • Charles Vanik at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2009-5-16
  • Obituary from The Cleveland Plain Dealer
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Crosser
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 21st congressional district

Succeeded by
Louis Stokes
Preceded by
Frances P. Bolton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 22nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Dennis E. Eckart

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