Jerry Lewis, the longest-serving Republican congressman in California history, has died



Jerry Lewis, the longest-serving Republican congressman in California historical past and a former Home Appropriations Committee chairman who helped steer federal help to the state after disasters however who was celebrated — and vilified — for earmarking thousands and thousands of {dollars} to his Inland Empire district for pet initiatives, has died at his dwelling in Redlands.

Lewis died July 15, in accordance with a press release from Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona). Lewis was 86.

Along with chairing the Home Appropriations Committee, Lewis, who served 40 years underneath the Capitol dome earlier than retiring in 2013, served as No. three in Home GOP management and saved former Home Speaker Jim Wright from drowning. However he was maybe greatest identified for bringing dwelling the bacon.

His legacy features a lengthy — very lengthy — checklist of initiatives, together with the Lewis Middle for Instructional Analysis in Apple Valley, the Jerry Lewis Swim Middle in San Bernardino, the Jerry Lewis Group Middle in Highland, the Jerry Lewis Reception Room at Loma Linda College Medical Middle and Lewis Corridor on the College of Redlands, amongst many initiatives.

Lewis retired after scandals led to a congressional ban on lawmakers earmarking funds for pet initiatives and after redistricting radically modified the make-up of his district.

He additionally got here underneath scrutiny for his ties to lobbyists whose purchasers obtained thousands and thousands of {dollars} in congressional earmarks. Federal authorities closed a probe of the funding in 2010 with out taking any motion.

Earlier than his election to Congress in 1978, Lewis served a decade in Sacramento, writing laws that established the South Coast Air High quality Administration District to struggle smog on a regional foundation.

“He recalled how there have been lots of of days annually when the smog was so thick that, from his dwelling within the valley, he couldn’t see the gorgeous San Bernardino Mountains just a few quick miles away,” Calvert mentioned in his assertion.


Lewis additionally pushed for 1980 voter approval of a reporter’s protect regulation, an modification to the state Structure permitting reporters to take care of the confidentiality of reports sources, and in 1977 authored the California Desert Native Crops Act to fight “cactus napping.”

In Washington’s hyper-partisan local weather, the affable Lewis was nicely appreciated by colleagues from either side of the aisle.

Born Oct. 21, 1934, in Seattle, Charles Jeremy Lewis was the youngest of six youngsters and in highschool turned a champion swimmer, an exercise he stored up till late in life. He graduated from UCLA in 1956 with a level in authorities. For years he ran an insurance coverage enterprise whereas serving on the San Bernardino college board, earlier than being elected to the state Meeting, the place he served for a decade. He was elected to Congress in 1978.

In Washington, he used to get mail supposed for the comic of the identical title, a truth he discovered each hilarious and barely annoying. In 1988, he was elected Home Republican Convention chairman.

Lewis is survived by his spouse, Arlene; brothers Ray and John; 4 youngsters, Jenifer, Jerry Jr., Jeff and Dan; and quite a few grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Simon is a former Instances employees author.


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