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Former House Speaker Tom Foley Dies

Washington Rep. Tom Foley

Washington Rep. Tom Foley

Washington State University Libraries

Tom Foley, former Washington congressman and Speaker of the House, died this morning at age 84. Foley was born in Spokane, and stayed there through his college years at Gonzaga University. He moved to the west side of the state to attend law school at the University of Washington.

Foley’s congressional career lasted 30 years from 1965 to 1995. Hey became Speaker of the House in 1989, but he lost his reelection bid in the 1994 Republican midterm takeover of the House — the first time a sitting Speaker had last reelection since the Civil War. He was succeeded by Newt Gingrich.

Foley returned to public service as Ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2001. His eastern Washington district has remained in Republican control since his defeat.

We’ll look back on Tom Foley’s career and life, and ask how both Washingtons have changed since his term.

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