Southeast Texas lost a political pioneer Tuesday night, the man who spent more than 40 years in congress representing the region; Jack Brooks has died of a sudden illness.
A local state representative who remembers brooks as an icon tells us how the former congressman has left an impact on not only Southeast Texas but the nation as a whole.
"My entire life he was in public office so he was always an inspiration," said State Representative Joe Deshotel who had grown up looking at Jack Brooks as an icon in the political realm and once Deshotel made his way into politics he and brooks became friends.
"He would always bite his cigar but he would never bite his tongue he never would," said Deshotel," he would say what was on his mind."
Deshotel says Brooks wasn't afraid to go against the grain being one of the only southern congressmen to sign the civil rights act and the voting rights act.
Brooks is known on the national level for his participation in the Nixon impeachment. He also was a part of the motorcade that President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie were in when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
"There's a famous picture of him standing there with Jackie with blood on her blouse and Johnson being sworn with Jack Brooks standing at their side," said Deshotel.
While serving as a house representative Brooks sponsored a bill that ultimately made Lamar University a four-year institution.
"Things he did back home is just too numerous," said Deshotel. "The waterways, the dams, the interstate, all the things that he supported that we're enjoying today are just a direct result of how much he loved southeast Texas."
Deshotel says Jack Brooks may have passed away but he's leaving behind a legacy that will not be forgotten.
In memory of him buildings bearing his name are flying their flags at half-staff.
Jack Brooks passed away peacefully surrounded by family.
He was 89-years-old and would have turned 90 on December 18th.
The family asks that their privacy is respected as they grieve this loss.
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