Jack Brooks was probably the most famous casualty of the 94’ Congressional tidal wave elections that brought in the Republican majority other than Speaker of the House Tom Foley.
Brooks represented East Texas so there were many, many hunters and fishermen in his district. He always won by large majorities so he thought it was safe for him to vote for the Brady Gun Bill.
His opponent was Republican Steve Stockman who literally ran his campaign out of his garage.
Apparently Brooks ran some polls and saw he was in trouble, so he ran an awful campaign commercial of a Space Shuttle being launched and him craning up his old turkey neck to watch it.
But you can’t put stuff like this in an obituary.
Prior to entering Congress in 1952, he famously passed the hat at a civic club in Beaumont to raise enough money to purchase two sport coats. At the conclusion of his congressional career, he was among the most wealthy members of congress, all on a congressman’s salary.
As to his legacy, he did manage to steer an inordinate amount of pork into his district over the decades, but otherwise was instrumental in causing the massive expansion of the already bloated bureaucracy.
He made an ass of himself during his inquisition of Oliver North during the Iran Contra hearings, at one point revealing what had been highly sensitive and classified intelligence information.
A mixed legacy at best. The people of southeast Texas did themselves a favor by retiring him in 1994. They were also wise in defeating one of his younger disciples (Nick Lampson) for the third time this year.