800px19871003_Jack_Kemp_RallyFormer congressman, vice presidential candidate, past Housing and Urban Development Secretary and NFL quarterback Jack Kemp has died of a cancer diagnosed only this January.

Though Kemp did not square well with conservative Republicans on many issues, his plain-spoken manner and jovial personality are elements that today’s GOP sorely lacks.

My fondest memory of Jack Kemp came during when he ran alongside Bob Dole on the GOP presidential ticket.  In the vice presidential debate, Gore asked Kemp if he would agree to abstain from telling football stories if Gore would agree not to talk about chlorofluorocarbon abatement, Kemp answered, “I can’t even pronounce it.”

Kemp leaves behind his wife, Joanne, and children Jeff, Jimmy, Jennifer and Judith.

Here is the introduction to the Wikipedia entry for the late Jack Kemp:

Jack French Kemp, (July 13, 1935 – May 2, 2009) was an American politician and professional football player. In the 1996 election, he was Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole’s running mate for Vice President. He had previously contended for the presidential nomination in the 1988 Republican primaries. Kemp began his political career with nine terms as a Congressman for Western New York, from 1971 to 1989, and subsequently served as Housing Secretary in the George H. W. Bush administration.

As an economic conservative, Kemp advocated low taxes and supply-side policies. His positions spanned the social spectrum, ranging from his conservative opposition to abortion to his more libertarian stances advocating immigration reform. As a proponent of both Chicago school and supply-side economics, he is notable as the molder of the Reagan agenda and the architect of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which is known as the Kemp–Roth tax cut.

Before politics, Kemp was a professional quarterback for 13 years in the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL), and American Football League (AFL). He served as captain of both the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills and earned the AFL Most Valuable Player award in 1965 after leading the Bills to a second consecutive championship. He played in the AFL for all 10 years of its existence, appeared in its All-Star game seven times, played in its championship game five times, and set many of the league’s career passing records. Kemp also co-founded the AFL Players Association, for which he served five terms as president. During the early part of his football career, he served in the United States Army Reserve.

After his days in political office, Kemp remained active as a political advocate and commentator, and served on corporate and non-profit organization boards. He also authored, co-authored, and edited several books. He promoted American football and advocated for retired professional football players. Kemp was the benefactor of Pepperdine University‘s Jack F. Kemp Institute of Political Economy. In January 2009, he was diagnosed with cancer.

Rest in peace, Jack.  Our prayers are with your family in this time of mourning.


[This post originally appeared on UnequalTime.com at http://unequaltime.com/2009/05/jack-kemp-1935-2009/]