Class: 1947Inducted: 2005
Born in 1927, James J. Howard began attending high school at St. Rose, but when his country called, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served in the South Pacific during World War II. Upon discharge from the Navy, he enrolled in APHS and graduated in 1947. He began his career as a teacher at Wall Township High School in 1952, after graduating from St. Bonaventure University, and later became the acting principal. In 1964 he was drafted by the County Democratic organization to run for the United States Congress. He was re-elected to eleven succeeding Congresses, where he died in office in 1989.
During 1973 and 1974, Congressman Howard was Chair of the Subcommittee on Energy of the Public Energy of the Public Works Committee, and introduced the 55 mile per hour sped limit, saving millions of dollars in energy costs in America, and countless precious lives. In 1978, he received the "Mass Transit Man of the Year Award" for extraordinary efforts on behalf of mass transit riders across the country. He was the author of the Howard Plan: which created a coordinated surface transportation policy program and Transportation Committee, the first New Jersey to hold that post. It was in that role as Chairman that he made his mark nationally; he quickly became an expert on the condition of our country's bridges, roads, and tunnels. He introduced legislation which amended the Highway Safety Act, the Airport and Airway Improvement Act among many others. Jim Howard was the chief sponsor of legislation establishing the Congressional Award program for young student achievers.
Congressman Howard protected our environment through the Clean Water Act and Superfund laws. He saved countless more young lives by sponsoring the 21 year old minimum drinking age. He sponsored legislation to build Highway I-95 from Wall Township to Trenton; which bears his name. He also provided federal funding for Asbury Park's James J. Marine Science Laboratory on Sandy Hook (whose motto is ("Conserving our nation's living oceans for over 125 years"); and the James J. Howard Community Clinic in Brick Township, which provides medical care to veteran through the Veteran's Administration.
Congressman Howard left behind his beloved wife Marlene, three daughters, four grandsons, and three great grandchildren. His favorite quote was, "One person can make a difference". Congressman Howard made a difference in the lives of all the residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and indeed, all the residents of the state and country. He was a great friend to all who knew him, especially to all in the Third Congressional District.