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Mark Andrews' 80th


Today is the 80h birthday of former United States Senator Mark Andrews, who represented North Dakota as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives for 18 years and in the Senate for six. In total, he served in Congress for 24 years, paralleling the presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan.

By the time of his birth in 1926 the Andrews family was deeply rooted in the fertile Red River Valley soil, near Mapleton. The Senator’s grandparents were early Cass County residents. Both were medical doctors who chose to leave their New York City practice for the wide-open prairies of Dakota Territory, arriving in 1880. Dr. Albion Andrews had an undergraduate degree in agriculture from Cornell, and began developing the farm as a sideline.

The first Mark Andrews was born six years after the couple’s arrival in Dakota--in 1886. When he came of age, he left the farm for New York, where he studied voice and sang with the Metropolitan Opera. Then, like his parents before him, he left eastern city life behind, returning to the farm in the 1920’s. He didn’t stop singing, though. During a term as Cass County Sheriff he was known as the “singing sheriff” for giving concerts after his campaign speeches.

Mark Andrews, Jr. belonged to the third generation on the Andrews farm. After attending High School in Fargo, he too went back east to school—to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, until he received a disability discharge and came home, and graduated from North Dakota State University, in 1949. He then carried on the farm, seed-cleaning and feedlot operation, and found his way into public service as a director of the Garrison Conservancy District.

Because of his farm background, Andrews understood agricultural issues inside and out, and was a strong advocate for farmers in Washington, D.C. He sat on the Appropriations and Budget Committees, and was chairman of the Commodities Subcommittee of the Agriculture Committee and the Select Committee on Indian Affairs.

Following his decades of public service, Andrews established a consulting firm in Washington, has served on corporate boards including Tenneco and Nodak Mutual Insurance, and has divided his time between his farm home, his Washington home, and “quite a bit” of travel. The Andrews farm is now operated by Mark Andrews the third, with assistance from Mark Andrews the fourth.

Happy Birthday Senator Andrews!

Written by Russell Ford-Dunker


Cass County History p. 711