The Capitol Record

Former House Speaker Tom Foley remembered at memorial

Tom Foley

Tom Foley

Several current and former lawmakers paid tribute to former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley at a memorial service Friday in Spokane.

Foley, a Spokane native, was the son of a teacher and Superior Court judge.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray described him as a “fundamentally decent” person with a “common touch.”

“He was, all at once, the local judge’s son who shook everyone’s hand and a statesman in the truest sense of the word,” Murray said.

“There should be more Tom Foleys,” said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Foley represented Eastern Washington’s 5th District in Congress for 30 years. He died earlier this month at the age of 84.

Speakers credited Foley with bringing the world’s fair to Spokane, improving the Grand Coulee Dam and providing leadership on food stamps, the 1992 clean energy bill and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Gov. Jay Inslee said Foley had the courage to stand up for his principles, even when it put his career in jeopardy. “He really represented the best the state of Washington can offer,” Inslee said.

Foley, a Democrat, was defeated in the 1994 elections that swept Republicans into power in the House.

Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers now holds Foley’s seat. She said she was inspired by the way Foley “boldly lived his life,” and chose people over politics.

“He reminds us that our shared love of Washington transcends party politics,” McMorris Rodgers said.

Former congressman Norm Dicks and U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush also spoke at the memorial, along with members of the Foley family.

The service was held at St. Aloysius Church on the campus of Foley’s alma mater, Gonzaga University. Foley attended Gonzaga Prep School and Gonzaga University, and later graduated from the University of Washington Law School.

Watch TVW’s video of the service below:

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