U.S. House Majority Leader
Tuesday, October 16, 1984
Jim Wright was born in Fort Worth, Texas, the city he later came to represent. He finished public school in 10 years and was almost through with college in three years when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Wright enlisted in the Army Air Corps, receiving his flyer's wings and a commission when he was 19. Flying combat missions in the South Pacific, Wright won the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit.
After the war, at the age of 23, Wright won election to the Texas Legislature. Three years later he became the youngest mayor in Texas when voters in Weatherford, his boyhood home, gave him the top job in city government. Wright was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives when he was 31. Serving his 15th consecutive term at the time of this lecture, he is the author of major legislation in foreign affairs, economic development, water conservation and energy.
Wright beat three other candidates for House majority leader in 1976. He was then unanimously re-elected three times to the second-highest post in the House. Of the numerous honors Wright has won, he was most pleased with one bestowed by his colleagues in the House of Representatives. In a confidential survey of the rank-and-file membership conducted by U.S. News and World Report, Wright was designated the most respected member of the body as well as its most persuasive debater. Wright's popularity in his 12th Congressional District \Vas demonstrated for 10 years beginning in 1964 — no one ran against him. He has since won re-election by wide margins.
A prolific writer, Wright is the author of three books, You and Your Congressman, The Coming Water Famine and Of Swords and Plowshares. He also collaborated with several colleagues on Congress and Conscience. Wright has published articles in Harper's, Saturday Evening Post, This Week, Coronet and major newspapers.
—Adapted from the original event program distributed at Jim Wright's LBJ Distinguished Lecture