North Texas Remembers a Legend – Jim Wright
We lost a legend today, but his legacy will live on in the heart of North Texas for years to come. Former House Speaker, Jim Wright passed this morning at the age of 92. Representing the 12th District of Texas, Speaker Wright served as a member of Congress for 34 years (1955-1989). He was known as a leader that truly served his constituents, always advocating for the residents of his district in Fort Worth.
Speaker Wright began his career at a young age. He gave his first political speech at the mere age of 15 and took his first public office at 23 in the Texas House of Representatives (1947-1949). He was then elected mayor of Weatherford, Texas from 1950 to 1954. It was during his 1954 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives that Speaker Wright became a name on Capitol Hill. He unseated the four-term incumbent with 60 percent of the vote during the Democratic primary and then went on to win the election. Wright built up admiration and power in the house while sending home millions of dollars worth of federal contracts. He was elected House Majority Leader in 1976 and Speaker of the House in 1987.
Speaker Wright also served in World War II as a member of the Army Air Forces. He left college the day after Pearl Harbor to volunteer for his country. At 19, he received his commission from the Army decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying more than 300 combat hours across the South Pacific.
Spending his career serving his country both on the battlefield as an airman and on the home-front as a public servant, Speaker Wright felt like a very lucky man. “It’s what I wanted to do from the time I was a student. To get to do in life what you want to do is by definition a lucky person,” he said in 1997.
“Speaker Wright was larger than life and I was honored to have had several chances to speak with him about the state of politics today. While he will live in the history books for the Wright Amendment, that just scrapes the surface of what this great man has done for North Texas, Texas and the United States,” said North Texas Commission President & CEO, Mabrie Jackson as she reflected on her time spent with him.