'Tribute To Tom Foley' For 30 Years Of Serving Washington
by Kelsey Watts, KHQ Local News Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
SPOKANE, Wash – Three decades of devotion to Washington State will be captured in one night to honor one very accomplished man.
Former Speaker of the House, Thomas S. Foley will be honored for his service on July 24th at Spokane's Bing Crosby Theatre at 5:30 p.m.
Due to Foley's decline in health, event organizer Rich Cowan said friends want to make the event a living tribute to the statesman who dedicated so much to the State of Washington.
Foley represented Eastern Washington for 30 years in Congress and became the 57th Speaker of the House in 1965 – the first from West of the Mississippi. President Bill Clinton appointed him as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan in 1997 before Foley retired from public service in 2001.
Aside from his work in Washington, Foley's local ties to Spokane are strong. Foley was born on the South Hill in 1929, attended Gonzaga Prep in 1946, and later earned his law degree from the University of Washington. He also served as Deputy Prosecutor in Spokane, and moved on to working as the Assistant Attorney General for the state of Washington.
When Foley became Speaker of the House, Cowan produced a documentary that highlighted his journey to the political stage.
"I was very impressed with the level of dignity and service that he had back then," Cowan told KHQ. "He has quite a legacy of service to our people here in the district and the country."
While Foley's frailty prevents him from flying back to Spokane from his home in Washington D.C., the tribute will be recorded for him to see. Friends and family wanting to attend this celebratory event are encouraged to arrive early to record a personal message to Tom and his wife, Heather.
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