William Ezra Jenner (July 21, 1908 – March 9, 1985) was a U.S. Republican Indiana State and U.S. Senator.
Jenner was born in Marengo, Crawford County, Indiana. He graduated with a law degree from Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington in 1930, and he set up practice in Paoli, Indiana.
He was elected to the Indiana State Senate in 1934 and served as minority leader from 1937 to 1939, and as majority leader and president pro tempore from 1939 to 1941. He ran for Governor of Indiana in 1940, finishing second at the Republican state convention.
To serve in the military upon US entry to World War II, he resigned his seat in 1942.
He returned from overseas action to run a US Senate seat vacancy caused by the death of Frederick Van Nuys and served from November 14, 1944, to January 3, 1945, becoming the first veteran of World War II elected to the Senate.
He ran for the Senate in 1946 defeating Congressman Charles M. La Follette 1,994 to 105 at the Republocan state convention. He would go on to win the general election by over 150,000 votes.
He ran for Governor of Indiana a second time in 1948, winning a plurality on the first ballot at the Republican state convention. Jenner lost the nomination on the second ballot to Holbart Creighton 885 to 931.
Jenner was re-elected to the Senate in 1952.
His friendship with fellow Indiana University classmate Harold W. Handley meant he was able to help Handley secure the Republican nomination for and election to the offices of Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Indiana.
In Congress, he was a follower of Joseph McCarthy. He stated in 1954:
Today the path to total dictatorship in the U.S. can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by Congress, the President, or the people. Outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system, another body representing another form of government – a bureaucratic elite. We have a well-organized political-action group in this country, determined to destroy our Constitution and establish a one-party state.... The important point to remember about this group is not its ideology but its organization. It is a dynamic, aggressive, elite corps, forcing its way through every opening, to make a breach for a collectivist one-party state. It operates secretly, silently, continuously to transform our Government without suspecting that change is under way.... If I seem to be extremist, the reason is that this revolutionary clique cannot be understood, unless we accept the fact that they are extremist. It is difficult for people governed by reasonableness and morality to imagine the existence of a movement which ignores reasonableness and boasts of its determination to destroy; which ignores morality, and boasts of its cleverness in outwitting its opponents by abandoning all scruples. This ruthless power-seeking elite is a disease of our century.... This group ... is answerable neither to the President, the Congress, nor the courts. It is practically irremovable.
In the Senate, Jenner opposed foreign aid and supported isolationist positions.
Jenner alleged that the United Nations had infiltrated the American educational system in 1952. In 1958, he did not run for re-nomination. He resumed legal practice in Bedford, Indiana in 1959, where he died on March 9, 1985, at seventy six years of age.