Donoghue recalls working alongside Shriver

Delegate first met Shriver while working on his Democratic nomination for president in 1976

January 20, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • Md. Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington
File photo

ANNAPOLIS — Del. John P. Donoghue's first foray into Democratic politics was with R. Sargent Shriver.

Shriver — who died Tuesday at age 95 — ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1976, losing to Jimmy Carter.

In an interview Thursday, Donoghue said he was a freshman at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., that year. He became a phone-bank volunteer for Shriver, working along with Shriver's daughter, Maria Shriver, the former TV journalist and first lady of California.

Donoghue isn't positive how he first got involved. He thinks it was through a friend of Maria Shriver, a student at Georgetown University at the time. The two schools had an agreement in which students from one could enroll in classes at the other.

Sargent Shriver, who married into the Kennedy family, was mourned this week and remembered for founding the Peace Corps, developing the "war on poverty" and working with the Special Olympics, among other accomplishments.

He also ran for vice president on a ticket with George McGovern in 1972, as a replacement when Thomas Eagleton withdrew.

Donoghue said he plans to attend Saturday's funeral.

Donoghue recalled that Shriver sent him to Des Moines for a few weeks to help Shriver's presidential campaign before the Iowa caucus. He stayed in a congressman's apartment.

After the campaign was over, Richard Drayne, a press secretary for Shriver, Robert F. Kennedy and U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, asked Donoghue to work for Ted Kennedy — first as an intern, then as a staff member.

Donoghue said Shriver, a Maryland native, told him William Preston Lane was his favorite governor. Lane lived near Donoghue's family in Hagerstown's North End.

Donoghue said Shriver's humanitarianism was prominent.

"He always talked about how important it was to try to do good things for people who, through no fault of their own, happen to be less fortunate than you," a philosophy he instilled in his children, Donoghue said. "And that always stuck with me."

Donoghue said his father, who was a doctor, and his mother, who was a nurse, raised him and his siblings the same way.

"You try and do things in life for those who, no fault of their own, are less fortunate," he said after Thursday's House session in Annapolis, as he starts his sixth term as a delegate. "And that's how I've lived my life. That's why I'm down here."

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