Businessman and politician James Thomas Kolbe (Jim Kolbe) represented the Republican Party in the US House of Representatives. Between 1985 and 2003, he served as the representative for Arizona’s 5th congressional district, and from 2003 to 2007 for its 8th.
Jim Kolbe, a Republican congressman who supported homosexual rights and served for more than two decades as a representative of a predominantly Democratic area of Arizona, has passed away. He was 80.
Former GOP congressman, Jim Kolbe, dies at age 80
Kolbe died on Saturday, as per a statement from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Ducey gave the order to lower the flags until Sunday night.
Before being elected to Congress in 1984, Kolbe served in the Arizona Legislature. There, he frequently clashed with other Republicans over his support for free trade and an immigrant guest worker program.
After knowing that a major media intended to identify him for his vote against federal legalization of same-sex marriage, he hesitantly came out as gay in 1996.
He added that he didn’t want to serve as the homosexual movement’s poster boy.
“Being gay was not — and is not today — my defining persona,” Kolbe said in 1997 during his first speech to a national gathering of gay and lesbian Republicans.
Kolbe left Congress in 2006 after serving his 11th term. Later, he wed Hector Alfonso, his partner.
“He belongs to so many people,” Alfonso was quoted as saying Saturday by the Arizona Daily Star. “He gave his life for this city. He loved Tucson, he loved Arizona.”
Alfonso claimed that although some people may have questioned Kolbe’s political choices at various points, “no one could question his integrity and his love for Arizona,” according to the newspaper.
Kolbe’s life and service to the state were hailed as remarkable by Ducey.
“He once said he was ‘born for the job,’” Ducey said in a statement. “He certainly was and Arizona is better for it.”
Others praised Kolbe for helping political candidates and environmentalists succeed.
“Pima County and southern Arizona could always count on Jim Kolbe,” Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson said in a statement.
Earlier life of Jim Kolbe, Where is he from? What about the family members
When Kolbe was five years old, his family moved to a ranch in rural Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Kolbe was born in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. After three years working as Barry Goldwater’s United States Senate Page, he graduated from the United States Capitol Page School in 1960. He attended Patagonia Union High School and Patagonia Elementary School.
Jim earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and his master’s degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, where he was a member of the fraternity Acacia. He was a member of the American Navy and spent a year in the riverine “Swift Boat” force in Vietnam.
Is Jim Kolbe Married? What about his children?
From 1977 to 1992, Kolbe was wed to Sarah Dinham, a University of Arizona professor of educational psychology. Kolbe came out as gay in August 1996 after some gay rights activists tried to out him as a result of his vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act.
In that year, he was elected again. He made history in 2000 by being the first openly gay speaker at the Republican National Convention, though he avoided discussing gay rights in his remarks. After Steve Gunderson of Wisconsin, he was the second openly gay Republican to hold office.
Hector Alfonso and Kolbe were wed in 2013.
Kolbe contributed to an amicus curiae brief that was submitted to the US in that year.