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Jack Edwards (American politician)

William Jackson Edwards (September 20, 1928 – September 27, 2019) was an American politician who represented Alabama in the United States House of Representatives from 1965 to 1985. He was a member of the Republican Party. Edwards was first elected to Congress in 1964, one of five Republicans elected to the House from Alabama amid Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater's sweep of the state in that year's presidential election.

Jack Edwards
Jack Edwards (Congressman).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1985
Preceded byFrank W. Boykin
Succeeded bySonny Callahan
Personal details
William Jackson Edwards

(1928-09-20)September 20, 1928
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
DiedSeptember 27, 2019(2019-09-27) (aged 91)
Fairhope, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
RelationsWilliam F. Aldrich (great-great grandfather)
OccupationAttorney, lawmaker

During Ronald Reagan's presidency, Edwards became the vice chairman of the Republican leadership and was a member of the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. He oversaw the funding for the rebuilding efforts of Alabama's Dauphin Island Bridge in 1979.

Life and careerEdit

Edwards was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War.[1]

Edwards was first elected to Congress in 1964, one of five Republicans elected to the House from Alabama amid Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater's sweep of the state in that year's presidential election.[2] He represented the state's 1st District, based in Mobile. The seat had been left vacant when 28-year incumbent Frank Boykin was the victim of redistricting that had reduced the size of Alabama's delegation from nine members to eight. Edwards defeated Democrat John Tyson, Sr. by 19 points. He went on to be reelected nine times and served alongside five American presidents.[2]

During his time in Congress, Edwards was said to be President Ronald Reagan's point man to improve national defense, and led efforts to establish both the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.[1] During Reagan's presidency, he became the vice chairman of the House Republican conference leadership. He was the ranking Republican member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.[2] After serving on the committee for ten years, he had become a national defense expert.[3] He was also a member of the House Banking Committee.[1] Edwards voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1968.[4]

According to the Alabama governor's office, Edwards was a strong supporter of Reagan's military buildup. In 1979, after a devastating hurricane, Alabama's Dauphin Island bridge had to be rebuilt, and Edwards oversaw the funding.[2]

Edwards served as chairman of the board of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. He was a member on the boards of the Mobile Opera, Mobile Economic Development Council and other civic boards and committees.[1] He was also a member of the Mayor's Waterfront Advisory Committee.[1]

From 1988 to 1999, Edwards was a member of the board of trustees of the University of Alabama System, and became the president pro tempore of the board after retirement.[1] From 1987 to 1996, he served on the board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. In 1988, he served as co-chairman of the Secretary of Defense's first commission, known as the 1988 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC I).[1]

In his final years Edwards, worked in the areas of constitutional reform, education, the environment and economic development in the Mobile area. He also served on the corporate boards of several companies such as The Southern Company, Holcim Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, QMS Inc., Dravo Corporation and The Aerospace Corporation.[1] According to Alabama governor Kay Ivey, Edwards was respected by both Democrats and Republicans.[2]


In 1987, Edwards was named Alabama's Volunteer Industrial Developer of the Year. In 1985, he was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor.[1] In 1987, he was named Mobilian of the Year. In 2005, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the University of Alabama's College of Communications and Information Sciences.[1]


Edwards died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Fairhope, Alabama, on September 27, 2019, seven days after his 91st birthday. Alabama governor Kay Ivey said Edwards "served his state and nation with the highest degree of integrity" and said flags at the Alabama State Capitol would be flown at half-staff in his honor.[1][2]

A statement released by Edwards' family quoted him as having said "My hope is that my great grandchildren will grow up in a country where civility will have been returned to common discourse and to the efforts to solve the country’s problems."[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lane, Keith (September 27, 2019). "Former Alabama congressman Jack Edwards dies, aged 91". WPMI.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Former Alabama congressman Jack Edwards dies at 91". AP NEWS. September 27, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Cason, Mike; Sharp, John (September 27, 2019). "Longtime Alabama Congressman Jack Edwards dies". al. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "TO PASS H. RES. 1100, A RESOLUTION PROVIDING THAT IMMEDIATELY ... -- House Vote #295 -- Apr 10, 1968".

External linksEdit