Jack Edwards (American politician)

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William Jackson "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 by Frank W. Boykin
Succeeded by Sonny Callahan
Personal details
Born (1928-09-20) September 20, 1928 (age 89)
Birmingham, Alabama
Political party Republican
Residence Point Clear, Alabama
Occupation Attorney

William Jackson "Jack" Edwards (born September 20, 1928) is a former U.S. Republican politician, who represented Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 until 1985.

Edwards was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but eventually moved to Point Clear, a suburb of Mobile and opened a law practice there. He was active in the Republican Party in the days when it barely existed in Alabama. His great-great grandfather, William F. Aldrich, had been the last Republican congressman from the state, serving (with a few months' break) from 1896 to 1901.

Edwards was first elected to Congress in 1964, one of five Republicans elected to the House from Alabama amid Barry Goldwater's sweep of the state in that year's presidential election. He represented the state's 1st District, based in Mobile. The seat had been left vacant when 28-year incumbent Frank Boykin was the state's only congressman not returned in the 1962 at-large election. He defeated Democrat John Tyson, Sr. by nineteen points. This seemed unusual on paper, since most of the 1st's living residents had never been represented by a Republican before. However, southwest Alabama had been one of the first regions of the state where old-line Democrats started switching parties in large numbers during the 1960s—a trend that only accelerated with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Edwards received long coattails from Barry Goldwater, who carried the 1st with over 70 percent of the vote. He was reelected nine times, never facing serious opposition in what rapidly turned into one of the most Republican districts in the South (though conservative Democrats continued to hold most of the district's seats in the state legislature).

In Congress, Edwards was known as one of the chamber's brightest conservatives, and was a strong critic of forced busing. He was also known for good constituent service. He helped originate the Gulf Coast Congressional Report, a public-service program giving a local view of Capitol politics.

Edwards did not seek reelection in 1984. He was succeeded by State Senator Sonny Callahan, a Democrat who turned Republican after Edwards promised him his endorsement. Edwards resumed his law practice, which he still maintains today, and was co-chairman of the 1988 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. He is still active in state Republican politics; when Callahan retired in 2002, Edwards campaigned for his chief of staff, Jo Bonner, who won the election.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Frank W. Boykin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Sonny Callahan