JOHN A. NOTTE JR. was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Providence College in 1931, attended Cornell University from 1931 to 1932, and graduated from Boston University Law School in 1935. He went on to practice law and served as town solicitor in North Providence in 1937. He was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II, following which he was elected Chairman of the Rhode Island Veterans’ Bonus Board. He served on the staff of U.S. Senator Theodore Francis Green from 1948 to 1956 and at the same time was Chairman of the North Providence Democratic town committee. Notte resigned from Senator Green’s staff after winning election as Secretary of State, a position that he held until he was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1958. It was while serving as Lieutenant Governor that he ran for, and won, the post of chief state executive. During his single term as governor, a family court was established and Rhode Island held its first one-day, one-place Democratic and Republican primaries. In his 1962 bid for reelection, Notte was the first Democrat ever to run for governor without the backing of labor, which was unhappy with Notte’s withdrawal of support for a state income tax and his decision to legalize night horse racing. The loss of labor backing was considered a significant factor in Notte’s defeat for reelection to a second term as governor, after which he returned to the practice of law. He sought the Democratic nomination in 1967 to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives but lost the primary.
La France, August P. Manual with Rules and Orders for the use of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island, 1961-1962.
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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.