Congressman's 99-year-old mother gets standing ovation at graduation ceremony

Holt was the first woman to serve in a statewide office in West Virginia when she was appointed West Virginia Secretary of State in 1957.

Former President Eisenhower tasked her with creating a program in 1960 to fix the nation’s ailing network of nursing homes. After heading up the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s elderly housing programs, she was reappointed by six more presidents.

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Her 64-year-old son says, “She was a presidential appointee under seven consecutive presidents, which I think is a record — I’m sure is a record.”

The lawmaker, whose dad served in the Senate, gushes about his beloved mother, “I know a lot of people like me really admire her. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that she comes across very well. She’s not one to blow her own horn.”

He adds, “I think she thinks, well, nobody remembers what she’s done. But the fact is I think those in the know remember.”

When asked by ITK if having such a dynamo for a mom puts the pressure on him to accomplish a ton, Holt (who earned a Ph.D. in physics from New York University and once beat a robot in a "Jeopardy!" challenge) replies with a laugh, “Oh no, not at all. I admire her. I also gave the invited commencement address there. If you’re going to be upstaged, it’s nice to be upstaged by your mother.”

Photo: Rep. Holt in 2011.