The former Speaker of the House Jim Wright has died at the age of 92. Wright was a Democrat who spent 34 years representing Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was re-elected 17 times to Congress.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Had Been Suffering From Cancer
CBS Dallas reports that Wright had been suffering with an illness for a long time. He’s survived by his wife, Betty, and the couple’s four children. According to CBS Dallas-Fort Worth’s Jack Fink, the local Democratic party in Fort Worth had planned a fundraiser in Wright’s honor on June 5.
2. He Was Forced Out of Office by Newt Gingrich
Between 1987 and 1989, he was the Speaker of the House. As speaker, he was the chairman of the 1988 Democratic Convention and nominated Michael Dukakis to represent the party in the general election. He was forced out of office after a scandal that was spearheaded by Newt Gingrich. The investigation began in 1988 when it was found that Wright had used the publicity generated from his book, Reflections of a Public Man, to earn lucrative public speaking engagements. The proceeds of which went undeclared.
3. He Was a WWII Vet
He was a World War II veteran, enlisting three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor and fought in the Pacific. His son later served in Vietnam, Wright told the New York Times in 1989. Since leaving office, Wright taught political science at Texas Christian University and worked as a Sunday school teacher. He was a resident of Fort Worth until his death, reports NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
4. JFK Said of Wright ‘He Speaks for the Country’
In his final speech before his assassination, JFK said of Wright “Here in Fort Worth he has contributed to its growth. He speaks for Fort Worth and he speaks for the country, and I don’t know any city that is better represented in the Congress of the United States than Fort Worth.” Wright was riding in the motorcade when Kennedy was shot dead.
5. He Wasn’t Allowed to Vote in Texas
In November 2013, Wright was denied a voter ID card by the Texas Department of Public Safety. He told the Fort Worth Star Telegram at the time that “Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn’t give me an ID.” Wright added that the reasoning was because his driver’s license was expired.