Jim Kolbe, a Republican congressman who supported homosexual rights and served for more than two decades as a representative of a predominantly Democratic area of Arizona, has passed away. He was 80.
Kolbe died on Saturday, according to a statement from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Ducey gave the order to lower the flags until Sunday night.
Before being elected to Congress in 1984, Kolbe served in the Arizona Legislature. There, he frequently clashed with other Republicans over his support for free trade and an immigrant guest worker program.
After knowing that a major media intended to identify him for his vote against the federal legalization of same-sex marriage, he hesitantly came out as gay in 1996.
He added that he didn’t want to serve as the homosexual movement’s poster child.
During his first speech to a national gathering of gay and lesbian Republicans in 1997, Kolbe declared, “Being homosexual was not — and is not — my defining identity.
Kolbe left Congress in 2006 after serving his 11th term. Later, he wed Hector Alfonso, his companion.
Alfonso was quoted as stating on Saturday by the Arizona Daily Star, “He belongs to so many people. For this city, he sacrificed his life. He adored Arizona and Tucson.
- Jake Flint Cause of Death: 37-year-old Red Dirt Musician Dies!
- Woman Dies After Fatal Crash on Cross Bronx Expressway
Alfonso claimed that although some individuals may have questioned Kolbe’s political choices at certain points, “no one could doubt his integrity and his love for Arizona,” according to the newspaper.
Kolbe’s life and service to the state were hailed as extraordinary by Ducey.
He allegedly claimed that he was “born for the role,” according to a statement from Ducey. He was, without a doubt, and Arizona is the better for it.
Others complimented Kolbe for helping political candidates and environmentalists succeed.
According to Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson, “Jim Kolbe was always there for Pima County and southern Arizona.”
Kolbe was referred to as a political pioneer by Matt Gress, who was just elected to the Arizona Legislature.
He claimed in a statement that “now, due to Jim Kolbe, being a part of the LGBT community and holding political office has become unimportant.”
At the age of 15, Kolbe began his political career in Washington, DC, working as a page for the late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater. He later served on the board that manages the page program. After attending Stanford University and Northwestern University, he obtained a master’s degree in economics.
In the Navy from 1965 until 1969, he served. He served in Vietnam and received a congressional medal for bravery there.
He entered Arizona politics after working briefly in the Illinois governor’s office and in real estate. Kolbe was elected to the state Senate in 1976 and held the position until 1982. He became the first Republican to represent a district with a majority of Democrats in the southern portion of Arizona since the state’s statehood when he was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in 1985.
Kolbe was well-known in Congress for supporting immigration, free trade, global development, and Social Security reform. Additionally, he ran an unsuccessful effort to do rid of the penny because of the expense of production.
He frequently backed legislation to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” homosexuality policy. He was on the LGBT advocacy group Log Cabin Republicans’ national advisory board.
Because of then-President Donald Trump, Kolbe reportedly defected from the Republican Party in 2018 and registered as an independent, despite claiming, “I haven’t left my party. My party dispersed.
According to the newspaper, he later penned a guest post in which he identified as a conservative who would support Joe Biden, a former colleague on Capitol Hill, in the 2020 election.
Stay connected with lakecountyfloridanews.com for the Latest News.