Mike Synar; Democratic Congressman From Oklahoma

Mike Synar, 45, Democratic congressman from Oklahoma from 1979 to 1994. A maverick who took on the powerful gun and tobacco lobbies while representing a conservative district, Synar supported a ban on assault rifles and introduced legislation to restrict tobacco advertising. He led the charge in the 1980s against the Gramm-Rudman deficit-reduction plan and earned the enmity of some of his constituents by trying to raise grazing fees on government lands. "Mike Synar was a brave and unflinching public servant," President Clinton said. "He did not always do what was popular, but he always did what he thought was right." Defeated in the 1994 primary, Synar later served as chairman of the U.S. Bankruptcy Review Commission and led a nonprofit campaign finance reform project. Of brain cancer Tuesday at his home in Tulsa, Okla.

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