Historical Marker #1776 in Newport remembers the life and service of longtime U.S. Congressman Brent Spence.
While many Cincinnati and northern Kentucky residents may recognize the name due to a local bridge being named for him, Brent Spence lived a remarkable life of service. Born in Newport on December 24, 1874, Spence was encouraged by his parents to obtain a thorough education.
In 1894, Spence graduated with a law degree from the University of Cincinnati and was admitted to the bar the same year. Spence served in the Kentucky State Senate from 1904 to 1908, and later held the position of city solicitor for Newport. Spence was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1930, and served for more than thirty years. As a Democrat, he supported legislation such as the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Social Security Act. The U.S. representative was a strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.
Spence married Ida Bitterman in 1919. He retired from politics in 1963 due to his failing health. He and his wife resided in Fort Thomas until his death on September 16, 1967. Spence is buried in Evergreen Cemetery located in Southgate, Kentucky. The Brent Spence Bridge, the Ohio River crossing for I-75, opened in 1963 to honor his life's work.