|Stevensville, MD||September 15, 2022|
From the 1960s to the 1980s, Brockton Adams climbed the ladder of American politics. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy nominated him to be the U.S. district attorney in Western Washington, and three years later he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s cabinet from 1977 to 1979, and won a bid to serve in the U.S. Senate in 1986. Adams’s 1992 Senate re-election campaign — and his career — came to a halt when the Seattle Times published an exposé that detailed sexual misconduct allegations levelled against him by eight women. Adams avoided a courtroom trial and the scrutiny of the Senate Ethics Committee, and, after his term expired in 1993, he retired quietly to Stevensville, Maryland. Following his death in 2004, he was buried at the small Broad Creek Cemetery in Stevensville.
Though Brock Adams was not convicted of any crimes, I find it ironic that a barbed wire-topped fence serves as the backdrop for his gravesite. It marks a perimeter around the Bay Bridge Airport, which neighbors Broad Creek Cemetery. The burial ground itself is surrounded by a white post and rail wood fence.
The disgraced Democrat shares a tombstone with his wife of 52-years, Betty. Their short, gray marker is decorated with a cross at its center. The offices Brock held in the Federal Government are carved beneath his date of death.
Adams was the second member of the Carter cabinet whose interment site I visited, following former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie in 2021. Adams served as Carter’s first secretary of transportation. After two years with the Department of Transportation, Adams resigned in July 1979. He and Carter had clashed on policies, and Adams was not satisfied with his limited access to the chief executive. “A Cabinet officer must work directly for the President, not for the White House staff,” he opined in his departing statement.
Born: January 13, 1927 in Atlanta, Georgia
Spouse: Elizabeth Scott Adams (m. 1952-2004)
Highest Military Rank: Petty Officer — U.S. Navy
Political Affiliation: Democratic Party
Served in Cabinet of: Jimmy Carter
Cabinet Position: Secretary of Transportation (1977-1979)
Died: September 10, 2004 in Stevensville, Maryland
Cause of Death: Parkinson’s Disease
Interment: Broad Creek Cemetery, Stevensville, Maryland
"This is the saddest day of my life. I have devoted nearly 31 years to public service. I care for people and have never harmed anyone. But it is not worth it to continue this campaign because of what it is doing to my family, myself and my supporters."
- Brock Adams
March 1, 1992, at a press conference in Seattle, Washington, suspending his re-election campaign for the U.S. Senate after he was accused of sexual misconduct by eight women
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Committee on Appropriations. “Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1978.” Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977. https://books.google.com/books?id=mIW2AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
Deseret News. “Washington Demo Bows Out of Race.” March 2, 1992. https://www.deseret.com/1992/3/2/18970831/washington-demo-bows-out-of-race-br.
Dewar, Helen. “Sen. Adams Quits Race Under Cloud.” Washington Post. March 2, 1992. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1992/03/02/sen-adams-quits-race-under-cloud/11fb68ae-d5d0-4ffe-9999-6e2da5e1010e/.
Gilmore, Susan, Eric Nalder, Eric Pryne, and David Boardman. “8 More Women Accuse Adams — Allegations Of Two Decades Of Sexual Harassment, Abuse – And A Rape.” Seattle Times. March 1, 1992. https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19920301&slug=1478550.
Holsendolph, Ernest. “Adams Angrily Quits Transportation Job.” New York Times. July 21, 1979, 1. https://www.nytimes.com/1979/07/21/archives/adams-angrily-quits-transportation-job-he-says-president-ordered.html.
Kitsap Sun. “BROCKS ADAMS: Senate panel won’t investigate charges.” May 22, 1992. https://products.kitsapsun.com/archive/1992/05-22/247384_brock_adams_senate_panel_won__3.html.
New York Times. “Brock Adams Quits Senate Race Amid Sex Misconduct Allegations.” March 2, 1992, A1. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/02/us/brock-adams-quits-senate-race-amid-sex-misconduct-allegations.html.