Born: Dec. 18, 1922 in Crowley, La.
Died: Dec. 4, 2012
Jack Brooks moved to Beaumont, Texas at the age of five. He graduated from Beaumont High School and was awarded a scholarship to Lamar Junior College. He entered the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a degree in journalism.
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, Congressman Brooks was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1946, representing Jefferson County. He retained the seat in 1948, running unopposed. As a state representative, Brooks authored a bill making Lamar Junior College a four-year school, co-authored the first increase in workmen's compensation in many years, and served as the Chairman of the Banks and Banking Committee and a member of the State Affairs Committee. Brooks received his law degree from the University of Texas in 1949. He was elected to the U.S. Congress from the 2nd District of Texas in 1952 and served in that capacity through 1965.
In 1966, he was elected to Congress from the 9th District of Texas, and he continued until January 3, 1995. Throughout his congressional career, Brooks has been a member of many important committees, several of which he has chaired.
Brooks was instrumental in securing funds for extensive improvements to deep water shipping channels serving Beaumont, Galveston, Port Arthur, and Texas City. He also played a major role in writing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1974, he played a significant role in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.
More recently, as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Brooks has overseen the Americans with Disabilities Act, adopted in 1990, the Assassination Materials Disclosure Act of 1992, the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, and many other pieces of legislation. In 1994, Brooks became Dean of the House of Representatives, a position held by the member having served the longest continuous span in office. Brooks was in office for over 42 years.