COLLEGEVILLE -- A bill is heading to Washington D.C. to rename Collegeville's Post Office after former politician and St. John's University alum Eugene McCarthy.

The bill coincides with the university's celebration of McCarthy's 100th birthday -- he was born in Watkins on March 29th, 1916. He died in 2005 at the age of 89.

McCarthy was a longtime politician, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949-1959 and in the Congress from 1959-1971. In 1968, McCarthy challenged incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Congressman Tom Emmer visits with the crowd. (Photo: Isaac Schweer, WJON)
Congressman Tom Emmer visits with the crowd. (Photo: Isaac Schweer, WJON)

Dozens of people attended a ceremony at Guild Hall Monday afternoon where the bill was announced. Congressman Tom Emmer spoke at the event about the impact McCarthy had -- and still has -- on St. John's and central Minnesota.

"Isn't it funny that you need an act of Congress to change the name of a post office?" asked Emmer. "By one point of view, that's kind of an overkill [but] on the other side of it, it's a big deal."

"You're literally putting somebody's name on a building who is a favorite son of this area, of this state, somebody who impacted this nation greatly."

Congressman Emmer, a Republican, says no matter what political party you're affiliated with, you have to respect the job McCarthy did representing this state.

"Whether you agree or disagree with his political stances, he still impacted the civic engagement across Minnesota on both sides of the aisle," Emmer says. "And now he comes full-circle and his name is not only part of the center for civic engagement here at St. John's but now, it'll be the Eugene J. McCarthy Post Office."

"I think the true measure of someone is how many people they touched -- well, all you have to do is come to the dedication of a post office to see this man touched a wide variety of people."

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