Chic Hecht

Mayer Jacob "Chic" Hecht ( born November 30, 1928 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri; † 15 May 2006 Las Vegas, Nevada ) was an American politician of the Republican Party of the State of Nevada from 1983 to 1989 in the U.S. Senate represented.


Chic Hecht made ​​1949 his bachelor's degree at Washington University in St. Louis. He attended the Military Intelligence School at Fort Holabird (Maryland) and was active during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953 as an agent of the United States Army Intelligence. For his service during this time he was inducted in 1988 into the Hall of Fame of the Army Intelligence. After his military service, Pike moved to Nevada. There he got into the retail business as well as the hotel and the banking industry.

Political career

Hecht's political career began in 1966 with the election to the Senate from Nevada. He was the first Republican in more than 25 years, the democratically dominated in the election district in and around Las Vegas to win a mandate. Hecht remained from 1967 to 1975 in the Senate, where he served the Republican 1969-1970 as leader of the opposition ( Minority Leader ).

1982 Hecht approached in the election for U.S. Senate against the incumbent Democrat Howard Cannon since 1959, after he had prevailed in the primary against four competitors. With a share of 50.1 percent he made the surprising defeat Cannon will fully assume the Congress on January 3, 1983. He spent only one term until January 3, 1989, when he only 46.1 percent of the vote reached the re-election attempt and thus Nevada Governor Richard Bryan defeated. After leaving the Senate, he was appointed by President George Bush as United States Ambassador to the Bahamas, where he stayed August 23, 1989 to March 1, 1993.

Use for Soviet Jews

Before the summit between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev party in October 1986 in Reykjavík Hecht met the President and handed him a list of the names of Soviet Jews, for their departure, he should work with Gorbachev. Later, Hecht said, Reagan had told him after the meeting that Gorbachev had agreed, as long as the matter is not going to be public. Hecht, even the Jewish faith, stated afterwards to have been inspired by Rabbi Menachem Schneerson to the foray.

Relationship with John Kerry

Some years after the end of his political career appeared Hecht name ahead of the 2004 presidential election again. Was reminded of an incident of 12 July 1988: At the time Pike had attended a lunch, a Republican group, when suddenly a piece of apple stuck him out of his fruit salad in my throat. He began to choke and stormed out of the dining room into the hallway of the restaurant where his party colleague Kit Bond, Senator from Missouri, tried in vain to help him. At this moment came John Kerry, Democratic senator from Massachusetts, from an elevator. Kerry recognized the situation and turned four times the Heimlich maneuver on, with the pike he pressed the piece of apple from his throat. After Kerry's bailout became public, Hecht received a call from Henry Heimlich, who invented the handle. The doctor told the politicians, if Kerry would have responded just 30 seconds later, pike would probably fall for the rest of his life in a vegetative state.

"This man saved my life. He knew exactly what to do, "said Hecht retrospect. At that time, pike and Kerry were declared political opponents: The senator from New England was chairman of the campaign committee of Democrats and Hecht's seat had been identified as one of the most important goals in the upcoming Senate election. " Something like this can only happen in America: He is working against me to inflict a defeat me, and then save my life," Hecht later summed together the irony of events.

Until his death Chic Hecht called in sequence at each December 25 John Kerry and thanked him for his intervention. Although he was considered a conservative Republican and had donated a large amount for the re-election of George W. Bush, he told Kerry to act for it in the election campaign, if he asked for it. One of his daughters, who had participated in the election campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, was active in gratitude as a fundraiser for the Democrats.

End of life

After his time as ambassador Chic Hecht returned to Las Vegas and went there after his commercial activities. In 2005, prostate cancer was found in him, to which he succumbed on May 15, 2006.