Former Congressman Andy Jacobs Jr. dies at 81

INDIANAPOLIS - Longtime Indiana legislator and Congressman Andrew Jacobs, Jr. passed away Saturday at the age of 81 at his home in Indianapolis, according to sources close to the family.

Upon news of his passing, Hoosiers, including Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, took to Twitter to voice their respect for Jacobs.

"Indy has lost one of its greatest champions," Ballard wrote on Twitter. "Andy Jacobs served his country & city w/ distinction as Marine, Korean War Vet & Congressman."

Gov. Mike Pence released a statement extolling Jacobs' "legacy of leadership."

“Andy Jacobs, Jr.'s contributions to the life of our state and nation are incalculable and I mark his passing with a sense of personal loss," Pence said. "Andy Jacobs personified the kind of principled and compassionate leadership that Hoosiers most admire and he will be greatly missed. 

Jacobs, a graduate of Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1959-1960, and was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1964.

Jacobs served 15 terms as a congressman between 1965 and 1997 representing Indiana's 10th Congressional District – losing a reelection bid only once to future Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut in 1972.

While in Congress, Jacobs helped to craft the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He also served on the House Ways and Means Committee, where he was known for his "tireless efforts to improve the lives of America's senior citizens," according to Pence.

In addition to his service in Congress, Jacobs served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1950-1952 during the Korean War. He was also an author, whose titles including "The 1600 Killers: A Wake-Up Call for Congress" (1999) and "Slander and Sweet Judgment: The Memoir of an Indiana Congressman" (2000).

Jacobs was succeeded in Congress by the late Julia Carson, who he described as being like a sister to him. Her grandson, Congressman Andre Carson, Jacobs was a mentor to him.

"While people will likely recall that he helped strengthen Social Security and was unrelentingly frugal with taxpayer dollars, his true legacy is that of a man who took the path less traveled, one of principle, no matter what advantages he sacrificed to do so," Carson said in a statement Saturday.

Carson said Jacobs was a man of "rapier wit," but also one dedicated to those he served.

"While in Congress, Andy never took a donation from a political action committee, he never attacked an opponent, and he never put his name on his office door in Washington, D.C., explaining that 'the seat belonged to the people I serve, not to me,'" Carson said. "He was a selfless public servant, who never cared about station or the trappings of office.

Following his retirement from Congress in 1997, Jacobs taught political science at IUPUI, and was a regular contributor to NUVO Magazine.

Jacobs is survived by his wife, Kim Hood Jacobs, and two sons, Andy and Steven Jacobs.

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