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Former longtime Indiana Congressman Andy Jacobs dies at 81

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Sunday, December 29, 2013 - 10:46 am

INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Jacobs Jr., a former longtime Indiana congressman, died Saturday afternoon, according to a family spokesman. He was 81.

Gary Taylor, a family friend and former campaign manager for Jacobs, said the former Democratic lawmaker had died earlier in the day at his Indianapolis home among family. Taylor said Jacobs had experienced declining health in recent years. He said the death was likely due to complications from old age rather than any single cause.

"He was a great man," Taylor said.

According to his congressional biography, Jacobs served in the Indiana House of Representatives in 1959-60, and then the U.S. House from 1965-73, and again from 1975-97.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence praised Jacobs career in a statement released Saturday evening.

Jacobs "personified the kind of principled and compassionate leadership that Hoosiers most admire, and he will be greatly missed," Pence said. Pence highlighted Jacobs' work on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as well as Social Security and Medicare.

Jacobs was a Marine who fought during the Korean War from 1950-52. According to an official congressional biography, Jacobs was a combat infantryman and sustained a 10 percent disability in the war. Taylor said despite that Jacobs refused all disability compensation while in office.

"He didn't think it was right to take that money, since he had a job with a good wage," Taylor said. "He was frugal, and that's something I think the public really seemed to take to about him."

Jacobs was born in Indianapolis on Feb. 24, 1932, according to his congressional biography. He graduated high school in Indianapolis in 1949. After his military service, Jacobs attended Indiana University, receiving a law degree in 1958.

According to his official biography, Jacobs was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1964 and served on the Judiciary Committee, helping to write the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 1972, he lost his campaign for re-election, but was re-elected in 1974. In addition to Medicare and Social Security, Jacobs championed pre-school programs and education programs.

He is survived by his wife, Kimberly Hood Jacobs, and two sons, Andy and Steven Jacobs. Taylor said information on memorial services will be released in the coming days.