About Orland Steen Loomis.
From the Program for the Unveiling and Formal Presentation Ceremony of his portrait October 29, 1949.
"Spike" attended Ripon College and the Univ. of Wisconsin, graduating from law school in 1917. He was a practicing attorney until his untimely death in 1942. From 1922 to 1931 he held the office City Attorney of Mauston. He also served as special prosecuting district attorney for Juneau County (for the prosecution of the former Sheriff, Lyall Wright.) During 1918 and 1919 he was in the World War as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces in France-- (Arrived in France shortly after the Armistice and remained about six months). During the legislative session of 1929 he served in the Assembly and during the sessions of 1931 and 1933 in the State Senate. He was elected president pro tempore of the Senate during the later session. In 1932-33 he was the chairman of the Veterans Memorial Commission, Senate representative on the Governor's Executive Council and during 1935 and 1936 he served as State Director of Rural Electrification in Wisconsin by appointment of Governor Philip F. LaFollette. He was the Wisconsin representative to the World Power Conference in 1936. As a member of the legislature Loomis was the author of a good deal of legislation affecting agriculture. Particularly notable were the oleo tax and oleo dealer licensing bill, measures eliminating default judgments, extending the mortgage redemption period of agarian victims of foreclosure proceedings and reducing license fees on farm trucks. He was the author of the statutes providing for school observance of Armistice Day as well as its proclamation by the Governor. Another bill he sponsored was one making World War veterans eligible for treatment at the Wisconsin General Hospital. He was also author of the Power District law, State Utilities Corporation Act, Constitutional Amendment of power, strict regulation of utilities and the railroad terminal switchmen's bill as well as many other measure in the interest of labor, education and the general welfare of the people. Elected Attorney General in 1936 Loomis served one term and in that term fought for liberal legislation and defended liberal state laws from attack in the courts. In 1937 he served on a committee of attorneys general of three states to study national unemployment compensation. He also served as president of the Interstate Commission on Crime and was regional director of the committee on transient and settlement laws. it was during his term as Attorney General that the office handled probably more important cases than during any single term previous to that. In 1940 he won the Progressive nomination for Governor in a five man contest. H polled more that a half million votes losing in the general election by 12,000. In 1942 he was unopposed in the primary on the Progressive ticket and was victorious in the general election by 105,719 votes carrying 51 out of 71 counties in 1944. Loomis died at the peak of his career for within five weeks after his victory at the polls he was suddenly taken ill, passing away on December 7, 1942, thus becoming the first Governor elect of Wisconsin to die before taking office. His career is best summed up by a quotation from the eulogy delivered the Attorney Glenn Roberts at the funeral service held in the State Capitol "His loyalty bowed to no expediency or personal consideration, Forthright and sincere he never pretended to be anything he was not. His courage never ran out. No matter how great the obstacles, how bitter the battle or how ruthless the opposition, he never dipped his colors in a fight. And always he fought fairly and squarely and he earned the everlasting respect and admiration of foe as well as friend. - (From the Appleton Post-Crescent, Oct. 30, 1940: Orland "Spike" Loomis Could be Mistaken for College Prof. - by John Wyngaard: If the upstate citizen were to encounter Orland S. Loomis on a downtown street here in the chances are that he'd pick him as a professor at the University of Wisconsin. For he looks the part. Middle-aged, conservatively dressed, dignified, quiet and thoughtful, the progressive candidate for governor is a composite of the the average small town, moderately successful lawyer in the unassuming and reserved college professor. It is somewhat contradictory, therefore, that Loomis is widely known in Progressive politics as "Spike", not a particularly dignified of significant nickname. That such a plain, almost crude tag should be the possession of the man whom a major political party has chosen as its candidate for the highest state office, however, is more characteristc of the Progressive party than it is of Loomis. progressives have always treated their leaders with a fine disregard for titles, prestige and position. Loomis grew to manhood as a Progressive and took his nickname with him into the lower realms of the Progressive organization. The habit remains, although it is not particularly appropriate, now that he has risen to a position of independent leadership as one the the first men of the Progressive Party.