By Jay Snipes, House, 1961

Reading Jim Stasny’s account in the December 2014 Capitol Courier of the President of Pakistan’s speech to the joint meeting of Congress in 1961 brought to mind another incident later that same summer.  As a young 16-year-old from North Carolina, I was duly impressed when I witnessed that same joint session.  Later in the summer, we were treated to a speech by another foreign leader–the President of Nigeria.  Late in the afternoon the day before the joint session I was out on an errand run to one of the House office buildings, and during that time the Capitol Police handed out passes for entry to the House chamber for next morning’s session.  I didn’t receive one and didn’t know that I would need one.  The next morning all doors into the House were manned by guards and I was refused entry without a pass.  Not wanting to miss the session, I found an elevator and went down to the ground floor, walked to the south end of that floor, found another elevator and went up to the second floor, getting out in the Speaker’s private chambers behind the House podium.  I slipped into the House chamber as the session was starting and quietly found my way over the Democratic Page benches.  I enjoyed my second joint session of Congress while remarking how easy it was to get around the security(??) in place that day.

Jay Snipes, House, 1961, came to Washington from his home town of Dunn, North Carolina, sponsored by Alton Lennon (D-N.C.), for the summer following his junior year of high school. After high school, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a BS in Business Administration from Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. in 1967.

Jay enlisted in the Air Force, and while posted at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota served as a Minuteman missile launch commander in an underground launch control center in charge of ten nuclear ICBMs. He was discharged in 1974. He earned a CPA certificate and worked in public accounting and then governmental accounting, working with the states of North Carolina and Ohio. He retired in 2004.

Beginning in 2006, Jay was the campaign treasurer for three statewide political campaigns in Ohio, Including the successful campaigns of Richard Cordray, now the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington. He credits his Page experiences with igniting a life-long interest in public affairs. Jay and his wife live in Pickerington, Ohio.

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