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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) Former U.S. representative and Democrat Jack Brooks, has died at age 89. Brooks spent his political career representing his Southeast Texas district for 42 years.
According to a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department statement, Brooks died Tuesday night at Baptist Hospital of Beaumont after a sudden illness. He would have celebrated his 90th birthday on December 18th.
Brooks was born in Crowley, the seat of Acadia Parish in south Louisiana. His family later moved to Beaumont, Texas, when he was five years old. In 1946, Brooks was elected to represent Jefferson County in the Texas Legislature and then won re-election in 1948 without opposition.
In 1952, Brooks was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas’ second district as a Democrat. It was during the 1950s and 1960s he became one of the more liberal Southern Congressmen when it came to issues such as civil rights and labor. He also refused to sign the Southern Manifesto and was also known as a conservative on issues like gun control and the death penalty.
Brooks who was in the Dallas motorcade on November 22, 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, was also aboard Air Force One later that day when Johnson took the oath of office.
At the time of his passing, he was reportedly surrounded by family.