WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jack Kemp, a star football quarterback who became a congressman, U.S. Cabinet secretary and Republican vice presidential nominee, died on Saturday at age 73.
Kemp died of cancer at his home in Bethesda, Maryland, The New York Times said, quoting his son, Jimmy Kemp.
He served 18 years as a congressman from Buffalo, New York, after starring with the Buffalo Bills of the old American Football League. In the House of Representatives, he championed tax cuts, free trade, economic growth and a return to the gold standard.
Kemp ran unsuccessfully for his party's presidential nomination in 1988 and was Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole's running mate in the 1996 election.
Kemp also served as secretary of housing and urban development under President George H.W. Bush.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Kemp "championed free market principles that improved the lives of millions of Americans and helped unleash an entrepreneurial spirit that all of us still benefit from today."
"Jack was a leading voice for a strong national defense, civil rights, and any other policy that empowered people," McConnell said in the statement on Saturday night.
Kemp used his muscles to rise to the top levels of professional football and then his brain to promote economic growth as a politician.
A hard-nosed competitor in his quarterback days with the Bills and San Diego Chargers in the 1960s, he could be a dogged ideologue for pro-growth tax-cut policies when he was a congressman in the 1970s and '80s. (Read entire article)