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DC Vote Advocate Jack Kemp Passes Away

by Adam Fogel // Published May 4, 2009
This weekend, we lost the self-proclaimed "bleeding-heart conservative," Jack Kemp, at age 73. Most well-known for his advocacy of supply-side economics and as the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee in 1996, he was also a strong supporter of giving the residents of the District of Columbia a vote in Congress.

Last year, I had the privilege of attending a DC Vote rally at the Public Welfare Building on U St., where Mr. Kemp gave the keynote address. He spoke of his time playing football; first as an All-American at Occidental College in Los Angeles and then as a championship quarterback with the Buffalo Bills. He explained that during that time playing football, he learned that the rights of all people, regardless of race, must be respected. He famously said, "I can't help but care about the rights of the people I used to shower with." Mr. Kemp also said he supported DC Voting Rights because when his children and grandchildren grow up and learn about his career, he wants them to be proud of his accomplishments because he was on the "right side of history."

While the DC House Voting Rights Act of 2009 remains stuck in the House of Representatives because the National Rifle Association insists on eliminating DC's remaining gun laws, we should think about how best to honor the life and legacy of Jack Kemp.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Jack Kemp attending a DC Vote Rally with DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Vote's Ilir Zherka"]Jack Kemp attending a DC Vote Rally with DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Vote's Ilir Zherka[/caption]