Maurice P. Coakley (January 9, 1906 – March 14, 1991) was a lawyer from Beloit, Wisconsin, who served seven years as a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Senate from the 15th District (Rock County), resigned to serve in World War II, then spent 25 years as a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Manufacturers Association.
Coakley was born in Beloit on January 9, 1906. He earned a B.A. degree from Beloit College in 1926, and graduated in 1930 from the University of Wisconsin Law School, taking up the practice of law in his home town. From 1927 until his 1934 election to the Senate he served as a record clerk in the Senate. From 1931-32 he was an instructor in political science at Beloit College, and in 1932 he was admitted to the bar of the Territory of Hawaii.
In 1934 Coakley won a plurality in a five-way Republican primary contest for the Senate seat won the year before by Democrat Alexander Paul. In the general election he was successful in unseating Paul, with 8847 votes to 8076 for Paul and 6168 for Progressive George Geffs. He was assigned to the standing committee on the judiciary. He was unchallenged in the 1938 primary, and easily won re-election against Progressive Joseph Sweeney.
In the 1939 and 1941 sessions, Coakley served as Republican floor leader. During the 1939 session, the Republicans had 16 seats (one short of a majority), and Coakley became majority leader with the votes of six Democrats (the Democrats received some committee chairmanships); he would later recall, "When the Democrats voted with us that session, we could suspend the rules. When they didn't, we couldn't even pass a bill. We were between the door and the jamb a lot of time."
In July 1940 he was appointed private and military secretary to Governor Julius Heil. He did not run for re-election in 1942, choosing instead to enlist in the U.S. Navy. (He was succeeded by fellow Republican Robert P. Robinson.)
After the Senate
Coakley died on March 14, 1991, in Richmond, Texas, at the age of 85.
- Ohm, Howard F.; Bryhan, Leone G., eds. The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1935 Madison: Democrat Printing Company, State Printer, 1935; pp. 195, 237, 552, 622
- Ohm, Howard F.; Bryhan, Leone G., eds. The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1940, Madison: Democrat Printing Company, State Printer, 1940; pp. 545, 615.
- "GOP Minority Role Not First Since '93" Wisconsin State Journal January 19, 1975; p. 35
- Ohm, Howard F.; Bryhan, Leone G., eds. The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1942 Madison: State of Wisconsin, 1942; p. 29
- "Coakley to Address Young GOP Here" Wisconsin State Journal June 25, 1946; p. 5
- "GOP Minority Role Not First Since '93" Wisconsin State Journal January 19, 1975; p. 35.
- "Maurice P. Coakley". http://death-records.mooseroots.com/l/142481274/Maurice-P-Coakley.
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