In 1948, Mr. Staggers was elected as a Democrat of West Virginia’s Second District to the United States House of Representatives and was reelected to subsequent Congresses until 1981. During his time in Congress, Mr. Staggers was elected Chairman of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee. He also served as a member of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and the Ad Hoc Committee on Energy. In addition to committee duties, Mr. Staggers served as the Assistant Whip for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1955 to 1977.
Harley Staggers was credited by many economists for saving the declining American railroads by passing the Staggers Act in 1980, which allowed for the deregulation of the railroads. He is also credited for preserving national railroad passenger services and improving the working conditions of railroad employees.
Harley Staggers Sr.’s son–Harley Orrin “Buckey” Staggers, Junior–served four terms in the United States House of Representatives (1983-1993); his papers are also housed at the Byrd CLS and are currently being processed.