Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




D. J. "Joe" Saia, of Frontenac, Kansas, has been county commissioner and the leader of the Democratic Party in Crawford County, Kansas, for the past three decades. An unemployed coal miner with an eighth-grade education, the county commissioner from Frontenac came from the bottom of the social pyramid. He was able, through his adaptability, tenacity, basic understanding of human nature, and undying concern for those in need, to fight his way to the position of chairman of the Crawford County Board of Commissioners and the leader of a successful political organization.

The road to power was not an easy path, and Joe Saia collected his scars in the rough-and-tumble world of grass-roots politics. The scar tissue accumulated from his political bouts did not harden him to the needs of those who came to him for assistance. The Crawford County commissioner has spent much of his time since taking office in 1939 listening and responding to the many requests from his constituents.

This thesis examines D. J. Saia's career from the time he entered the political scene and looks into accomplishments during the many years he has served in office. It also reviews the economic and social environment which acted as a catalyst for his involvement in policies. By studying the career of this Crawford County politician, some insight can be gained into why politics has meant so much to American ethnic groups.


Copy of typewritten thesis, vii, 162 leaves : maps ; 28 cm.


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