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Senator Chic Hecht Political Papers (MS-00003)

Abstract

The Senator Chic Hecht Political Papers (1943-1988) contain the political papers of United States Senator and Las Vegas, Nevada businessman Chic Hecht. The bulk of the collection contains legislation, notes, correspondence between Hecht and constituents and other members of Congress, and speeches from Senator Hecht's term in the Senate from 1982 to 1988. Also included are files on civil service, the federal budget, education, labor, transportation, land management, foreign policy, public health, and trade.

Finding Aid - PDF
Date
1943-1988
bulk 1982-1988
Extent
56.54 Cubic Feet (123 boxes, 1 file (shared box))
51.25 Linear Feet
Resource Type
Papers
Creator/Contributor Links
Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See

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on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.

Collection Type
Scope and Contents

The Senator Chic Hecht Political Papers (1943-1988) contain the political papers of United States Senator and Las Vegas, Nevada businessman Chic Hecht. The bulk of the collection contains legislation, notes, correspondence between Hecht and constituents and other members of Congress, and speeches from Senator Hecht's term in the Senate from 1982 to 1988. Also included are files on civil service, the federal budget, education, labor, transportation, land management, foreign policy, public health, and trade.

Biographical / Historical Note

Nevada businessman and Republican politician Jacob "Chic" Hecht (1928-2006) was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 1982. As a senator, he used quiet diplomacy skills to help Soviet Jews gain permission to emigrate. During the Korean War, Hecht served as a counterintelligence agent in Berlin. After the war he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and operated several businesses. Hecht also represented Clark County in the Nevada State Senate for eight years.

Mayer Jacob "Chic" Hecht was born to Russian immigrant parents in Cape Giradeau, Missouri. After earning his Bachelor of Science in retailing from Washington University in St. Louis in 1949, Hecht was drafted into the military and sent to Berlin for two years. After the war, he remained involved in the intelligence community and served on the National Military Intelligence Board and as president of the Military Intelligence Association during the 1970s. In 1988, Hecht was inducted into the Army Intelligence Hall of Fame.

After his military service, Hecht moved to Las Vegas where he began his career in business and politics. He owned several successful clothing stores, invested in gaming and real estate, and served on the Nevada State Bank board of directors for twenty years. He was also president of the Retail Merchants Bureau of Las Vegas and director of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. During his time in the Nevada State Senate, Hecht worked closely with Governor Paul Laxalt, creating sports facilities, the first mental health care facility in Southern Nevada, and the Nevada Community College system. As a U.S. Senator in the 1980s, Hecht served on several committees including Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Energy and Natural Resources; and the Select Committee on Intelligence. He was also chairman of the Housing and Urban Affairs subcommittee. In his effort to help Soviet Jews who were refused permission to emigrate, Senator Hecht used his position and his friendship with President Reagan to appeal to the Soviet Union. At a 1986 conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, Reagan gave a list of twelve hundred names to Mikhail Gorbachev, who agreed to allow their emigration as long as there was no publicity. Hecht spent five years as ambassador to the Bahamas in the early 1990s, after which he returned to Las Vegas. In his later years, Hecht was active in Jewish affairs and supported the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Hecht had two daughters, Leslie and Lori, with wife Gail, whom he married in 1959. Chic Hecht died on May 15, 2006.

Arrangement

Materials remain in original order inside the boxes but were roughly grouped into four series to facilitate discovery.

Series I. Legislative Files, 1943-1988;

Series II. Subject Files, 1982-1988;

Series III. Administrative Files, 1982-1988;

Series IV. Correspondence, 1982-1988.

Related Materials

The following resource may provide additional information related to the materials in this collection:

Chic Hecht oral history interview, 1976 April 02. OH-00826. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Preferred Citation

Senator Chic Hecht Political Papers, 1943-1988. MS-00003. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NvLN::MS00003
Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated in 1989 by Chic Hecht; accession numbers 1989-009 and 1990-095.

Physical Location

Some materials are stored in the Lied Automated Storage and Retrieval Unit (LASR). Advanced notice may be required to access these materials.

Processing Information

In 2015, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Lindsay Oden revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards and subsequently entered the data into ArchivesSpace. In 2019, as part of an archival backlog elimination project, Sarah Jones revised the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards.

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