Longtime Texas Congressman Jack Brooks Dies at Age 89

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According to Click2Houston, Jack Brooks, who represented a congressional district in Southeast Texas for 42 years, died of an unspecified illness at the age of 89. He was surrounded by his family when he passed.

Brooks a World War II Marine Corps veteran

Brooks, according to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, served in the United States Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He enlisted as a private on Nov. 7, 1942 as a private. He served at Guadalcanal, Guam, Okinawa, and Northern China. He was discharged with the rank of first lieutenant on April 23, 1946, and served as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve until 1972.

Brooks served in Congress from 1953 to 1995

The congressional biography lists Brooks' service in Congress from 1953 to 1995. The Associated Press notes that he was an ally of the legendary Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. Brooks was also in the motorcade in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He was also a supporter of President Lyndon Johnson. The Briscoe Center for American History notes that Brooks, a longtime supporter of civil rights for African Americans, helped to write the landmark Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act as a member of the Judiciary Committee. Later he played a role in the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Other pieces of legislation that Brooks sponsored included the Single Audit Act of 1984, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1991, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Brooks swept out of office by the Gingrich Revolution

Brooks was finally voted out of office during the 1994 Gingrich Revolution that saw the capture of the House by the Republican Party for the first time in 40 years. According to the AP, Brooks had gotten out of step with his constituents for his support of an assault weapon ban and his pro-choice views on abortion. But he also represented a bygone era of Democratic dominance in Texas politics that by 1994 had started to pass.

Brooks a supporter of NASA space programs

According to a biography of Brooks by Lamar University, Brooks was noted as a supporter of NASA and its various space programs. His district was close to the Johnson Spaceflight Center and contained numerous aerospace workers. In a ceremony in which Brooks was awarded NASA's Distinguished Service Medal, then NASA Administrator Dan Goldin noted Brooks' support for NASA in its early years as well as his support for the funding of the International Space Station.

Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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