Saturday, December 28, 2013

Former U.S. Rep. Andy Jacobs Dies At 81

Former U.S. Rep. Andy Jacobs (D) passed away today at the age of 81. He represented Indiana's former 10th and 11th congressional districts over a span of three decades. He lost only one election in 1972 to former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut. Despite his long tenure in the House, he never accomplished much legislatively and was not widely respected by his colleagues, even if they enjoyed his humor. Upon his retirement in 1996, Jacobs worked very hard to ensure that Center Township Trustee Julia Carson defeated Ann DeLaney in the Democratic primary. When Carson died in 2007, Jacobs worked very hard to ensure that her grandson, Andre Carson (pictured above with Jacobs), succeeded her in Congress when he faced a very crowded field of Democratic opponents vying to succeed her. Jacobs had three wives, including his current wife, Kim Hood, a former news anchor for WRTV WTHR. Jacobs' fist wife was Kay Welsh, daughter of former Gov. Matt Welsh. He was also married for a short while to Martha Keys, a former U.S. Representative from Kansas. He is survived by two sons from his marriage with Hood, Andy Jabobs and Steven Jacobs. Gov. Mike Pence released the following statement on Jacobs' passing:
“Andy Jacobs, Jr.'s contributions to the life of our state and nation are incalculable and I mark his passing with a sense of personal loss. Andy Jacobs personified the kind of principled and compassionate leadership that Hoosiers most admire and he will be greatly missed. 
Before serving a long and illustrious career as a member of the United States House of Representatives, Andy  Jacobs served his nation in the United States Marine Corps as a combat infantryman.  Upon his return from military service, he dedicated the next three decades of his life to public service. Andy Jacobs served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1959-1960. Later, he was elected to represent Indiana’s Tenth Congressional District in 1964, serving in the same Indianapolis Congressional seat held by his father in 1948-1950 During his early years in Congress, Representative Jacobs helped to write the 1965 Voting Rights Act. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative Jacobs was known for his tireless efforts to improve the lives of America’s senior citizens by enhancing the Social Security Administration and the Medicare program
Throughout his career, Representative Jacobs was recognized by colleagues on both sides of the aisle as a champion for his principles and a man of impeccable character. When Representative Jacobs retired from Congress in 1997, he left a legacy of leadership and a reputation for integrity among his peers and the people that he served. 
On behalf of my entire family, I express our deepest sympathies and prayers to his family, his wife Kim, and to his two sons during this difficult time. God bless you, Andy Jacobs. Your compassion and servant leadership left Indiana and our nation better for you having been here.  You will be sorely missed and your many contributions to Indiana will be remembered always.”
It's kind of odd that Pence beat U.S. Rep. Carson to the punch in releasing a statement on Jacobs' passing, particularly considering their close "family" relationship. Nothing on Carson's Twitter account hours after other news outlets broke the news of his passing. Mayor Greg Ballard tweeted on his account two hours ago, "Indy has lost one of its greatest champions." I would also correct Gov. Pence's assertion that Jacobs helped write the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That's a total fabrication. He was a freshman member of the Judiciary Committee at the time. Yes, he voted for the legislation, but he played no key role in its passage whatsoever, and he certainly had no hand in writing it. In honoring Jacobs with the naming of a post office in Indianapolis after him, the late Rep. Julia Carson accurately described his role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act as recorded in the Congressional Record: "Congressman Jacobs was in fact a member of the Committee on the Judiciary that helped to write the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act, and I know a lot of my colleagues in Congress would like to be reminded that Andy Jacobs is the one that sponsored legislation that made Father's Day a legal holiday."

UPDATE: Rep. Carson has now commented on Jacobs' passing via Twitter:
With Andy Jacobs' passing, our nation lost a man who was courageous, both in his service as a Marine in Korea, and in public life.
Andy Jacobs was a selfless public servant, who never cared about station or the trappings of his office.
The dumbass award in the media goes to WTHR's Kevin Rader, who tweeted this absurd observation:
If Indiana were to have a Mt Rushmore you could make a solid case for Andy Jacobs because of his work on civil rights.
This is how useless so-called reporters in this country have become.  Rader obviously knows nothing other than how to regurgitate talking points that are handed to him by someone with an agenda. "Work on civil rights?" Please. This is the same reporter who accepted a free trip to Turkey from a lobbyist for the Gulen movement.

Carson has now released a longer statement on Jacobs' death, including the following excerpts describing Jacobs as "family":
Congressman Jacobs was family. He served as an invaluable mentor and dear friend to my grandmother, Julia Carson, who he hired to work in his Indianapolis congressional office in 1965. It was Andy’s faith and encouragement that inspired my grandmother to run for state representative in 1972, and his support of her never wavered. 
At an early age, Andy also took an interest in me as well and imparted wisdom while serving as a role model. He continued as a valued mentor, even long after he left office.


Anonymous said...

Kim Hood was an anchor at WTHR-13, NOT WRTV

Paul K. Ogden said...

I know you're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but this line is 100% true:

"Despite his long tenure in the House, he never accomplished much legislatively and was not widely respected by his colleagues, even if they enjoyed his humor."

Jacobs by all accounts was a great guy, but a great legislator he was not.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks for the correction.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, I remember the first time I heard Jacobs speak in person was when I was in law school. It was about the time the first Gulf War was taking place and he went on a tirade against helping restore a Muslim oil shiek to power in Kuwait so he could resume the enjoyment of his harem of multiple wives. A gay Democratic law student then asked him his position on gay rights and he went on a tirade against gays, saying he couldn't possibly relate to their deviant lifestyle and, as a veteran, would not stand for allowing them to serve in the military. The student who asked him the question was clearly taken aback by the response and kept waving him off to try to keep him from saying anything worse then he had already said. The funny thing was that there were rumors about a torrid homosexual relationship he had with a deputy sheriff in the Marion County Sheriff's office back in the 1950s. I had my hand up for a long time trying to ask him a question. Before he finished taking questions, he said he would take one more question and not from the guy wearing suspenders, who he described as someone who thinks their question is more important than anyone else. Mind you, I had never met the guy before. I walked up to him afterwards and told him what an ass I thought he made of himself and it was a shame that someone of his small intellect could get elected to Congress. He looked at me like he was going to punch me and then turned and walked away.

Anonymous said...

That vignette of Jacobs actually makes me have some respect for the guy.

Our participation in either Gulf War was dead wrong, and the homosexual agenda is an evil that is doing tremendous harm to this country.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I would have respected his explanation regarding his opposition to the first Gulf War if he had explained it in terms of the fact that Saddam Hussein had been put in power by our own CIA and given chemical weapons by our country to use in Iraq's war with Iran, or the fact that Bush's ambassador to Iraq, April Gillespie, told him to go ahead and invade Kuwait, which had been stealing oil from Iraq by slant drilling, or even that the emir of Kuwait was also a stooge working for our CIA. Instead, he couched his explanation with simpleton, anti-Muslim rhetoric, which was ironic given his support of Andre Carson, who is Muslim. His anti-gay rhetoric, to me, reflected the rantings of a man hiding something about himself, not words of concern for the well-being of the military.

Jasha said...

Jacobs may not have gotten his name on many bills, but how about some props to him for refusing to take any campaign donations? Not just from PACs, but from anyone. So like his congressional record or not, at least you knew you were getting his own opinions and not those of the guy who wrote him the biggest check!

Gary R. Welsh said...

It's true that Jacobs did not raise very much money in his later years in Congress, but it's not true that he refused to accept campaign contributions altogether. You have to remember that his father, Andy Jacobs, Sr., had been elected as prosecutor and as a member of Congress before Jacobs made his first run for office. His name was already universally known when he started his political career. He raised what he felt he needed to get through the election. In most of his elections he never had a serious political opponent. He barely won re-election in 1994, his last election, against an opponent who raised and spent very little money.