Member Biography

John Herman Dent 


03/10/1908 - 04/09/1988

John Herman Dent (D39) Westmoreland County 1937-1958

Early Life:

John Herman Dent, born March 10, 1908, Johnetta, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania; son of Samuel and Genevieve Dent; Armstrong and Westmoreland public school education; Great Lakes Naval Aviation Academy; International Correspondence Schools, Scranton, Pennsylvania; corporal, United States Marine Air Corps 1924-1928; mechanic; salesman; editorial writer, Jeanette Free Press; contributor, various magazines and labor publications; operator, Kelden Coal and Coke Company, Hunkers, Pennsylvania; proprietor, Building and Transportation Company of Trafford and Jeannette, Pennsylvania; elected, council, Jeanette City, 1932-1934; elected Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1935-1936; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1937-1958; elected, Senate Minority Floor Leader, 1939-1958; elected, United States Congress, Special Election, vacancy, death, Augustine B. Kelley; reelected, served, January 21, 1958-1979; married, Margaret R. Babe Dent, son John Fred Dent; died, April 9, 1988 (aged 80), Jeanette, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; interment, Greensburg Catholic Cemetery, Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

Member, local council of United Rubber Workers, 1923-1937, served as president of Local 18759, executive council; member, international council, United Rubber Workers.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, council, Jeanette City, 1932-1934. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 1935-1936; not a candidate for reelection 1936. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 39th district, Westmoreland County, 1937-1958; elected, Senate Minority Floor Leader, 1939-1958; appointed, chairman, Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Industrial Taxes, 1937-1938; appointed, Joint Committee to Study Unemployment Compensation Problems, 1939-1940; appointed, Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Charges of Conspiracy in the General Assembly, 1941-1942; appointed, Joint State Government Commission, 1941-1958; appointed, Commission on Interstate Cooperation, (1943-1958; chairman, Commission on Interstate Cooperation, 1957-1958: Subcommittees on Crime and Defense, 1943-1946: Subcommittee on Liquor Problems, chair, 1943-1946 and 1949-1950: Subcommittee on Interstate Waters, Ohio River Basin, 1943-1946, 1949-1950); appointed, Joint Executive Legislative Committee (1945-1948: Subcommittee on Municipal Authorities, 1945-1946: Subcommittee on Corporation and Cooperatives, 1947-1948: Subcommittee on Labor Laws, 1947-1948); appointed, State Highway and Bridge Authority Commission, 1949-1950; appointed, General State Authority Commission, 1949-1950. 

Continued Government Service/National Politics:

Elected, United States House of Representatives, Special Election, vacancy, death, Augustine B. Kelley; served, January 21, 1958-1979; served 85th, 86th, 87th, 88th, 89th, 90th, 91st, 92nd, 93rd, 94th, 95th, Congresses; not a candidate for reelection, 1978.   

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Biography:

Official Website - PA House Archives Official Website (


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members D"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

Ralph Nader Congress Project. Citizens Look at Congress: John H. Dent, Democratic Representative from Pennsylvania. Washington, D. C.: Grossman Publishers, 1972.

John Herman Dent (1908-1988) - Find a Grave Memorial

Congressional Biography

After 11 session(s) serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, John Herman Dent  went on to serve in congress