Lunn, George Richard

Lunn, George Richard

(1873–1948) minister, mayor, social reformer, public official; born in Lenox, Iowa. An ordained Presbyterian minister, his first pastorate was in 1903 in Schenectady, N.Y. He quickly moved in the direction of social action, founding a People's Church when his more conservative congregation rebelled. He continued in the ministry until 1915. For a time he ran his own reformist newspaper, and was then recruited by the Socialist party, on whose ticket he was elected mayor of Schenectady. As mayor (1912–14, 1916–17), he instituted a number of social reforms, establishing a municipal employment bureau, a lodging house, and a farm, but his independence caused him to be expelled from his own party. He served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat (1917–19), and was again elected mayor of Schenectady in 1919 and 1921, resigning that post when he won the state's lieutenant governorship in 1922 on the Alfred E. Smith ticket. After a reelection defeat in 1924, Lunn was appointed to the state's Public Utilities Commission, where he served until 1942.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.