Working days and studying nights he eventually opened his own store, while his charismatic Sunday school teaching led to him becoming a prominent religious broadcaster. He entered the West Virginia state legislature in 1948 and the US Congress in 1952, in spite of a history of involvement with the Ku Klux Klan, which he later repudiated. He continued to study, earning several university degrees while in Congress. He worked his way through the chairmanships of several Senate committees, chief whip, etc., to become Senate majority leader in 1977-79 and 1987-88 and minority leader 1980-87. He is famous as a legislative tactician and is still in the Senate after 40 years.
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