Wright, Jim (James Claud Wright, Jr.), 1922–2015, U.S. congressman, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1987–89), b. Fort Worth, Tex. Following service in the U.S. army during World War II, Wright was a Texas state representative (1947–49) and mayor of Weatherford, Tex. (1950–54). He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas in 1954. A moderate Democrat, he became House majority leader in 1976 and was named by his colleagues as the most respected member of the House in 1980. In 1987 he became House Speaker, but he resigned two years later amid charges of unethical conduct, having alienated many representatives with his assertive control of the House rules. Wright encouraged negotiations between Nicaragua's Sandinistas and contras that ultimately led to a peace accord.
See his memoirs (1996); J. W. Riddlesperger, Jr., et al., ed. The Wright Stuff (2013).
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Wright, (James Claude, Jr.) Jim(1922– ) U.S. representative; born in Fort Worth, Texas. An army veteran with a Distinguished Flying Cross, and an amateur boxer, he served in the Texas legislature (1947–49) and was Democratic mayor of Weatherford, Texas (1950–54) before going to the U.S. House of Representatives (1955–89). A member of the Public Works Committee, he protected Texas oil interests and ran unsuccessfully for Lyndon Johnson's Senate seat in 1961. In 1976 he won the majority leadership from three other deadlocked candidates and was unopposed when he became Speaker of the House in 1986. His legislative blitzkrieg and opposition to Reagan's Central American policy roused the ire of Republicans including the conservative Newt Gingrich, who charged him with taking advantage of his position to earn royalties on his biography, Reflections of A Public Man (1984), and to benefit a stockyard and banks in which he held investments. Although Wright denied any wrongdoing, he was forced to resign in 1989.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.