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Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-1995


Image of Joachim Octave Fernández
[Library of Congress]

United States Representative
Democrat of Louisiana

Seventy-second - Seventy-sixth Congresses
March 4, 1931 - January 3, 1941

Joachim Fernández was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 14, 1896, where he attended public and private schools. He worked as storage tariff agent, becoming an expert in the field. In 1921 he was a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention. In 1923 he was elected to the State House of Representatives and served until 1928. Subsequently he was elected to the State Senate where he served until 1930.

After six years of experience in the Louisiana State Legislature, Fernández was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and was subsequently reelected to four terms. In his first term in Congress, Fernández was assigned to the Naval Affairs Committee where he served until the 75th Congress, when he moved to the Appropriations Committee.

Fernández supported many of the programs to create work for the masses of unemployed during the Depression. In 1940 he defended the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) projects in New Orleans against accusations of poor management, and stressed the importance of these projects for the state of Louisiana. In his fifth bid for reelection, he was defeated by Edward Hébert. Fernández was called to active duty as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve on January 8, 1941 and served until September 30, 1943. He returned to New Orleans, where he was appointed collector of internal revenue for the District of Louisiana, a position he held until October 1946. In 1948 he became head of the State Delinquent Income Tax Section, where he served until his retirement in 1965. Subsequently he operated his own tax consulting firm. He died on August 8, 1978 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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