Wilbur D. Mills (D) knew he wanted to be a U.S. Congressman and on the powerful Ways and Means committee when he was a grade-school boy, says biographer Kay Goss.
Goss was at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock on Wednesday night to discuss her new book chronicling Mills, “Mr. Chairman: The Life and Legacy of Wilbur D. Mills.”
“He knew from the time he was 8 years old that he wanted to go on the Ways and Means committee,” Goss said. “He played Speaker of the House in his backyard.”
Mills’ father was friends with Cong. William Oldfield when his son was young. That relationship introduced Mills to his Congressional ambition at an early age.
He also was pretty much in charge of the Ways and Means committee from his first meeting in Congress, Goss said. As a protege of House Speaker Sam Rayburn, Mills’ youth and intellect allowed him to excel at the research and intricacies of studying the nation’s tax code.
“He was chairman of the committee from the day he went on,” Goss’ research with former staffers highlights. “The guy who was chairman was 40 years older and he didn’t really get along with Rayburn.”
So Rayburn let Mills brief him on committee activities, she said, which led to his rising influence and knowledge.
You can watch the video of an interview with Goss about her book on Mills in the video below.