Andrew Jacobs Jr. dies at 81; Indiana congressman known for his thrift
Andrew Jacobs Jr., a former longtime Indiana congressman known for turning down pay raises and PAC donations as well as for being an early opponent of the Vietnam War, died Saturday at his Indianapolis home. He was 81.
He had been in declining health for some time, said Gary Taylor, a family friend and former campaign manager.
A Democrat, Jacobs served in the U.S. House of Represenatives from 1965 until a reelection defeat in 1973. He succeeded in another House election and served again from 1975 until his retirement in 1997.
Earlier, he had served a term as an Indiana state legislator.
A Marine who was wounded while fighting in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952, Jacobs refused disability compensation while in office.
“He didn’t think it was right to take that money, since he had a job with a good wage,” Taylor said. “He was frugal, and that’s something I think the public really seemed to take to about him.”
The son of a one-term congressman, Jacobs consistently turned down speaking fees and money from political action committees, as well as at least three raises.
A 1993 study found that he had the fourth-lowest office expenses in the House: $395,510 at a time when the average was more than $522,000.
In 1986, he handily won his 11th term in Congress against a Republican who, backed by the American Medical Assn., spent more than $540,000 on his campaign. Jacobs spent $8,000.
An avid supporter of Social Security, he lashed into James Roosevelt, FDR’s eldest son, at a 1987 hearing.
Roosevelt was accused by members of both parties of needlessly frightening older citizens with a barrage of dire direct-mail pieces from his National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
“What in the world have you been up to, Jimmy?” Jacobs asked incredulously.
Jacobs insisted that Social Security was not in danger of going bankrupt, as Roosevelt’s mailings claimed.
“If your organization sent letters promising to protect the people of Indiana from polar bears, you’d be just as successful,” Jacobs said. “I don’t know anybody in Indiana who has been bitten by a polar bear, or any member of Congress who would vote to abolish Social Security.”
Born in Indianapolis on Feb. 24, 1932, Jacobs attended Indiana University after his military service and received a law degree in 1958.
In 1976, he and Martha Keys, a Democrat from Kansas, became the first members of Congress to marry each other. They later divorced.
In addition to Medicare and Social Security, Jacobs championed preschool and education programs.
He is survived by his wife, Kimberly Hood Jacobs, and two sons, Andy and Steven Jacobs.
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