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Jim Wright
Speaker Jim Wright of Texas.jpg
48th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 6, 1987 – June 6, 1989
Preceded by Tip O'Neill
Succeeded by Tom Foley
House Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1987
Deputy John Brademas
Tom Foley
Preceded by Tip O'Neill
Succeeded by Tom Foley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 12th district
In office
January 3, 1955 – June 30, 1989
Preceded by Wingate Lucas
Succeeded by Pete Geren
Personal details
James Claude Wright Jr.

(1922-12-22)December 22, 1922
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Died May 6, 2015(2015-05-06) (aged 92)
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Lemons (1942–1972)
Betty Hay (1972–2015)
Children 4
Education Weatherford College
University of Texas, Austin
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Years of service 1941–1946
Unit United States Army Air Forces
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross

James Claude Wright Jr. (December 22, 1922 – May 6, 2015), usually known as Jim Wright, was an American politician who served as the 48th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1987 to 1989. He represented Texas' 12th congressional district as a Democrat from 1955 to 1989.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Wright won election to the Texas House of Representatives after serving in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. He won election to Congress in 1954, representing a district that included his home town of Fort Worth. Wright distinguished himself from many of his fellow Southern Congressmen in his refusal to sign the Southern Manifesto and he voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1957, though he later voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also became a senior member of the House Public Works Committee.

In 1976, Wright narrowly won election to the position of House Majority Leader. He became Speaker of the House after Tip O'Neill retired in 1987. Wright resigned from Congress in June 1989 amid a House Ethics Committee investigation into compensation that he and his wife had received. After leaving Congress, Wright became a professor at Texas Christian University.


Speaker Wright, 1991Oil portrait by Marshall Bouldin III

Wright died at the age of 92 on May 6, 2015. He was survived by his wife Betty and four children. He had previously undergone surgery twice to treat cancer, though it is not clear if his death was cancer-related.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, the last Democrat to serve as House Speaker, stated, "Speaker Wright was a person of deep courage, brilliant eloquence, and complete mastery of the legislative process. Speaker Wright's strong, decisive leadership built an indelible legacy of progress, not only in his beloved state of Texas, but around the world. Wright championed prosperity for every working family, and helped lead the way to peace to Central America."

The incumbent Speaker of the House, John Boehner, R-OH, stated that, "Speaker Wright understood as well as anyone this institution's closeness to the people, calling the House 'the raw essence of the nation'." President Barack Obama stated, "As a representative from Texas and Speaker of the House, Jim was passionate about investing in infrastructure, and he worked tirelessly to promote peace in Central America. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Jim's family and friends, and the people he represented in Congress for so many years."

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