Former Speaker Tom Foley Dies

President Bill Clinton (L) speaks to U.S. Speaker of the House Tom Foley (R) after a press conference 04 August 1993 on Capitol Hill.
National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
Billy House
Oct. 18, 2013, 9:22 a.m.

Thomas Fo­ley, the House speak­er from 1989 to 1994 and later an am­bas­sad­or to Ja­pan, died Fri­day morn­ing of stroke-re­lated com­plic­a­tions. He was 84.

“With his passing, the House loses one of its most de­voted ser­vants and the coun­try loses a great states­man,” House Speak­er John Boehner said in a state­ment.

The Demo­crat from Spokane, Wash., was first elec­ted to the House in 1964 and rose through the ranks over 15 terms to be­come chair­man of the House Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee, ma­jor­ity whip, and ma­jor­ity lead­er. In June 1989, he be­came the na­tion’s 57th House speak­er.

But, in a rare event, he was de­feated for elec­tion to his House seat in 1994 in a land­slide that capped that year’s “Re­pub­lic­an Re­volu­tion,” which led to the in­stall­a­tion of Newt Gin­grich as speak­er. Fo­ley, who lost his seat to Re­pub­lic­an George Ner­th­er­cutt, was the first speak­er of the House since the Civil War to lose a bid for reelec­tion.

In his cam­paign against Fo­ley, Neth­er­cutt cap­it­al­ized on a pop­u­list theme, prom­ising to serve no more than three terms in the House, a prom­ise he would ul­ti­mately break. But the theme was a pop­u­lar one in 1994. The mes­sage took hold in part be­cause it came just two years after Wash­ing­ton voters ap­proved a bal­lot meas­ure lim­it­ing terms for state of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing fed­er­al rep­res­ent­at­ives. Fo­ley, al­lied with the League of Wo­men Voters and oth­ers, filed a chal­lenge and won, but Neth­er­cutt was able to play up Fo­ley’s role in over­turn­ing that meas­ure.

House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, her­self a former speak­er who vis­ited Fo­ley at a hos­pice this week, called him “a quint­es­sen­tial cham­pi­on of the com­mon good.”

“In his years lead­ing the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, Speak­er Fo­ley’s un­rivaled abil­ity to build con­sensus and find com­mon ground earned him genu­ine re­spect on both sides of the aisle. The year I took of­fice, he se­cured a much-needed budget com­prom­ise that re­stored pub­lic faith in our fin­an­cial se­cur­ity and con­fid­ence in Con­gress,” she re­called.

House Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence Chair Cathy Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers, a Re­pub­lic­an from Wash­ing­ton state, said Fo­ley will be re­membered “as one of our state’s gi­ants.”

“East­ern Wash­ing­ton ag­ri­cul­ture and wheat farm­ers still be­ne­fit today from his lead­er­ship as Chair­man of the House Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mit­tee and House Speak­er,” she said in a state­ment.

Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden said of Fo­ley in a state­ment, “It was an hon­or to work with him dur­ing the budget sum­mits of the 1980s that did so much to se­cure our na­tion’s fu­ture, and when he served over­seas as our na­tion’s Am­bas­sad­or to Ja­pan.”

After leav­ing Con­gress, Fo­ley worked at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld from 1995 through 1997, a peri­od in which he was Pres­id­ent Clin­ton’s chair­man of the For­eign In­tel­li­gence Ad­vis­ory Board. Clin­ton nom­in­ated him to be the 25th am­bas­sad­or to Ja­pan in 1997, a po­s­i­tion in which he served un­til March 2001.

After leav­ing that post, Fo­ley chaired the Mans­field Found­a­tion un­til 2008 and was act­ive on a num­ber of private and pub­lic boards of dir­ect­ors. Those in­cluded the Ja­pan-Amer­ica So­ci­ety of Wash­ing­ton, the Cen­ter for Stra­tegic and In­ter­na­tion­al Stud­ies, and the Cen­ter for Na­tion­al Policy.

He is sur­vived by his wife, Heath­er, and oth­er fam­ily mem­bers.

What We're Following See More »
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
2 days ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
2 days ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN STATE TV
Kislyak Says Trump Campaign Contacts Too Numerous to List
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."

Source:
“BLOWING A SURE THING”
Sabato Moves Alabama to “Lean Democrat”
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login