Former Speaker Tom Foley Dead at 84

Was Speaker until 1994, when Republicans took over the House for the first time in decades


Tom Foley, a Spokane native who rose to the highest position in the U.S. House of Representatives – a spot two heartbeats away from president – is dead at 84.

Arguably Spokane's most successful politician, Foley served 30 years in the House representing Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District, the last five of them as speaker, before losing both jobs in a historic electoral defeat in 1994. He went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to Japan for President Bill Clinton from 1997 through 2001, was a presidential advisor on foreign policy matters, a principal at a high-powered Washington, D.C., law firm and a member of many directors boards.