Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Jim Wright, a Texas Democrat known for hardball politics, has died at the age of 92, the Texas Democratic Party said.
Wright, who represented a district in Fort Worth in the U.S. Congress for more than 30 years, resigned from the House in 1989 in the midst of an ethics scandal.
Known for his bushy eyebrows and bursts of temper, he was first elected to the House in 1954 and would serve 34 years. He became the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber in 1976 and rose to the job of speaker – the top post in the House – in January 1987, replacing retiring legend Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.
Wright served as speaker for 29 months before resigning from Congress after a yearlong investigation that left him facing likely conviction in the House on charges that his financial dealings violated the chamber’s rules.
“All of us in both political parties must resolve to bring this period of mindless cannibalism to an end,” he told House colleagues in his resignation speech on May 31, 1989.
“There’s been enough of it. I pray to God that we will do that, and restore the spirit that always existed in this House.”