U.S. Sen. Carl Hayden (center) of Arizona wears a big grin as he poses with President John Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon Johnson, left, at one of the functions in Phoenix on Nov. 17, 1961 honoring the 84-year-old senator.  (AP Photo/Harold Filan)

Hayden, center, with then-vice president Lyndon Johnson and then-president John Kennedy in 1961. (Harold Filan/AP)

By Mark Memmott

Political Junkie Ken Rudin pays proper respect to a bit of history that's going to be made tomorrow:

Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., will serve his 20,774th day in Congress -- making him the longest-serving member of Congress.

As Eugene Kiely at USA TODAY's On Politics blog reports:

West Virginia's Gov. Joe Manchin will hold a ceremony in the state capitol. "On Nov. 18, a West Virginian breaks all records and makes history," Manchin said in a statement. "Sen. Byrd sets the gold standard for what it means to be an outstanding public official."

The man who isn't getting as much attention today, is Arizona's "silent senator," Democrat Carl Hayden.

He's the guy who spent 20,773 days in the House and Senate -- from 1912 to 1969. Hayden, writes Dan Nowicki at The Arizona Republic:

Was a legislative giant who was instrumental in the evolution of modern Arizona, with the 1968 creation of the Central Arizona Project water-delivery system perhaps his greatest achievement.

Known as the "silent senator" because he chose his words carefully, Hayden was the state's first representative in the House (Arizona became a state in 1912) and after moving to the Senate in 1927 served seven consecutive terms in that chamber.

"To me, he was the most honest politician that I'd ever known or even heard about," Roy Elson, Hayden's longtime Senate chief of staff, tells Nowicki. "He was just an institution in himself in that he did things all over the country, not just in Arizona."

Byrd turns 92 on Friday. Hayden died in 1972 at the age of 94.

categories: History, Politics

1:55 - November 17, 2009