Former Rep. Jack Kemp dead at 73

May 2, 2009 at 11:50 PM
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BETHESDA, Md., May 2 (UPI) -- Jack Kemp, a football star who became a U.S. congressman, cabinet member and vice presidential nominee, has died of cancer. He was 73.

Kemp's son, Jimmy Kemp, told The New York Times the former Buffalo Bills quarterback died Saturday at his home in Bethesda, Md. Kemp Partners announced in January that Jack Kemp, who represented the Buffalo area in Congress for nine terms, had been diagnosed with the disease.

Jack Kemp helped reshape the Republican Party agenda with his commitment to tax cuts, although he was less successful in his efforts to have the party reach out to minorities, the Times said.

"The party of Lincoln needs to rethink and revisit its historic roots as a party of emancipation, liberation, civil rights and equality of opportunity for all," he said after the 2008 presidential election.

Jack Kemp, a native of Los Angeles, played six-plus seasons with the Buffalo Bills and also played for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. A five time American Football League all-star, he won the AFL Most Valuable Player award in 1965 after leading the Bills to a second consecutive league championship.

He was elected to Congress in 1970, and his achievements there included the Kemp-Roth tax cuts.

He served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George H.W. Bush after running unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. He was Sen. Bob Dole's running mate on the Republican ticket in 1996.

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