CHRISTOPHER DEL SESTO was born in Providence, Rhode Island. After graduating from Boston University and Georgetown University Law School, he did advanced studies in taxation at New York University and the University of Miami, becoming a certified public accountant and practicing attorney in Providence specializing in taxation and finance. In addition, he taught at both Boston University and Northeastern University in the late 1930s. He served as Rhode Island’s budget officer in 1935, as a special assistant to the U.S. Attorney handling cases associated with milk industry monopolies from 1938 to 1940, as director of the Rhode Island Finance Department from 1940 to 1942, and as Director of the state Office of Price Administration from 1942 to 1945. In 1956 he ran against incumbent governor Dennis Roberts and won a plurality of the votes but lost the election after the Supreme Court invalidated 5,000 civilian absentee and shut-in ballots cast prior to election day on the ground that a constitutional amendment required such votes to be cast on, rather than prior to, election day. Two years later, however, Del Sesto defeated Roberts to become the first Republican governor of Rhode Island in twenty years. During his first year in office, Del Sesto set a record by vetoing ninety-eight pieces of legislation passed by a Democratic-controlled state legislature. Also during his administration, an accelerated program of highway construction was implemented, state aid for education to cities and towns was liberalized, and a state scholarship program was established. Del Sesto was defeated for reelection to a second term as governor and returned to the practice of law. In 1966 he was appointed Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Superior Court by governor John Chafee, a position that he held until his death.

Sources:

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Who Was Who, Vol. 6. Kingsport, TN: Marquis Who's Who, 1976.