WASHINGTON -- Jack Kemp, the ex-quarterback, congressman, one-time vice-presidential nominee and self-described "bleeding-heart conservative" died Saturday.
His spokeswoman Bona Park and longtime friend and former campaign adviser Edwin J. Feulner confirmed that Kemp died after a lengthy illness.
Kemp had announced in January 2009 that he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said he was undergoing tests but gave no other detail.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called Kemp "one of the nation's most distinguished public servants, Jack was a powerful voice in American politics for more than four decades."
Kemp, a former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, represented western New York for nine terms in Congress, leaving the House for an unsuccessful presidential bid in 1988.
Eight years later, after serving a term as President George H.W. Bush's housing secretary, he made it onto the national ticket as Bob Dole's running-mate.
With that loss, the Republican bowed out of political office, but not out of politics. In speaking engagements and a syndicated column, he continued to advocate for the tax reform and supply-side policies -- the idea that the more taxes are cut the more the economy will grow -- that he pioneered.
He was dead wrong of course. Still He was a good guy and as a football fan I have to make mention of this.