The hometown of former Speaker of the House Tom Foley is mourning the longtime politician’s death. Foley represented Spokane and a large swath of far eastern Washington from 1965 to 1995.
As a student at Gonzaga University, Foley honed his skills in political persuasion on the Catholic college’s debate team.
Johnny Draxler is the current student body president at Gonzaga. He says Foley’s example is an inspiration to him even decades after the Speaker served.
“Tom Foley was in office for only a few months of my own life. I’m only 21, but I come across stories from his legacy all the time,” Draxler says. “Looking at his work with the Voting Rights Act and the kind of work he did in order to cooperate with a dissenting executive branch and Senate.”
Foley died Friday morning at his home in Washington, D.C. He had been in hospice care for several months.
Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Colville, Wash., now holds Foley’s seat. She released a statement praising the former speaker for his work to boost eastern Washington agriculture.