What You Didn't Know About Sen. Jay Rockefeller
- John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV was born June 18, 1937, in New York. He's the great-grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller and the nephew of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.
- He married Sharon Percy, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois, in 1967. The Rockefellers have four children and two grandchildren.
- Jay Rockefeller attended Phillips Exeter Academy and, with the ambition of becoming the U.S. ambassador to communist China, went on to Harvard University. Taking a break from Harvard after his junior year, he studied Japanese for three years at the International Christian University in Tokyo before returning to complete his senior year. He graduated from Harvard in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in Far Eastern languages and history.
- His wife is the president and CEO of WETA, a Washington, D.C., public broadcasting station.
- Rockefeller first went to West Virginia with VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in 1964. During his VISTA years in Emmons, W.Va., he set up a library, helped found the town's first preschool, and arranged for residents to get dental work and Pap tests.
- During an interview with fifth graders, Rockefeller revealed that his favorite food is clam chowder and that his hobbies are hiking, exercising, and listening to classical music (he's especially fond of Bach). Other favorites mentioned were: president (Lyndon Johnson); movie (Saving Private Ryan); and book (Martin Gilbert's Winston Churchill).
- The senator comes from a long line of art lovers. His grandfather established the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum's department of medieval art, and his grandmother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was one of the founders of the American Museum of Modern Art. Rockefeller has several works of art in his office, including paintings and quilts by West Virginia artists. At home, he and his wife have built a collection of American Impressionist art.
- Although his great-grandfather was easily the richest person in the world, Rockefeller is only the third-wealthiest member of the Senate, well behind fellow Democrats John Kerry and Herb Kohl.
- In 2006, construction began on the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, on the campus of West Virginia University. The senator founded the institute in memory of his mother, who died of Alzheimer's disease.
- His main legislative interests are healthcare reform, education, and security issues.
Senator Jay Rockefeller for West Virginia
Sharon Percy Rockefeller
Charleston Daily Mail
Washington Business Journal
Project Vote Smart