Petition Regarding NASA's Ranger VII Mission
Petitions are a popular way for citizens to communicate their sentiments with Congress. Henry Stoner, who sent this petition requesting that the House sponsor a resolution congratulating NASA on its successful Ranger VII mission to photograph the surface of the moon, exercised his right to petition his government more frequently than most. In fact, during the 1st Session of the 88th Congress alone, Stoner’s name appears some 286 times in the House Journal, once for each time one of his petitions was referred to a committee of the House. Stoner’s petitions ranged from “improving commercial air travel safety by experimenting with gigantic parachutes” to “improving the elevator service in the House of Representatives” to “adopting a resolution to condemn the church bombing in Birmingham, Ala.” By 1965, a Wall Street Journal profile on petitioners of Congress noted that Mr. Stoner had submitted more than 1,800 petitions. His interest in Congress went beyond petitioning—he even ran for the House in 1970 and came within 600 votes of winning a seat to represent the 16th District (representing the southeast corner of Pennsylvania), but was defeated by Edwin Eshleman. Many believe that petitions are an exercise in futility, and this example of Mr. Stoner’s petitions is a request for a routine, congratulatory resolution; however, petitions often highlight hot button issues that citizens believed should be considered by Congress.