Andy Jacobs died this weekend. The brand of politics he practiced predeceased him.

I was the Republican candidate who ran against Andy in 1980.  It was a hard-fought campaign, but hard-fought didn’t imply the sort of mud-throwing and character assassination we have become accustomed to. Andy suggested that some of my positions were uninformed; I argued that he was ineffective. When Andy retired from Congress, Bill Hudnut and I were among those invited to “roast” him, and I admitted that during the heat of the campaign I had called him a name…I had called him a Democrat.

Andy didn’t hold grudges against political opponents. His friendship with Bill Hudnut–who actually defeated him before he won back his Congressional office– is legendary. Not too many years after I ran against him, my youngest son served as his Congressional Page.  Andy and I would go on to have an occasional lunch together, and from time to time, he would comment favorably, via email, on columns I’d written.

We probably agreed more than we disagreed. When the Iraq War started, he and I shared the stage at a protest rally on Monument Circle. I seldom saw him after that, and I knew his health was deteriorating.

Indianapolis will miss Andy Jacobs.

The whole country is poorer for the loss of generosity of spirit and the politics of principle he characterized.



  1. He was your friend Shelia. I do hope you were the one who occasionally asked Andy out to lunch! I know life gets in the way when it comes to reaching out to friends.

    I never met him but I think he was the kind of guy who didn’t act like the kids today who think their ideas are the only ones that matter. Being able to hold two conflicting thoughts in your head at the same time seems to be a forgotten art.

    Andy you will be missed.

  2. Andy Jacobs and Doc Bowen; two names this state can be proud of being served by. They were legends in their own time and will be remembered.

  3. My prayers and thoughts are with Andy Jacobs Jr.’s family and his legion of friends and admirers.

    Andy was a great humanitarian with a keen mind and a creative, down-to-earth wit worthy of Abe Lincoln. His engaging sense of humor was somehow both boyish and wise.

    His servant’s heart and integrity were constant sources of inspiration. He made friends of his political opponents and motivated the best in others. He also had an incredible way with words in person and print. His amazing gifts to turn a phrase still bring reader pleasure and thoughtful insight in his book “The 1600 killers: A Wake-up Call for Congress”.

    He worked the congressional halls of power but was ever the underdog’s champion, working hard to make the American dream available to every American child and adult through equal opportunity. He was our everyman who loved engaging voters in barber and beauty shops, grocery and hardware stores. He enjoyed everyone he met but was the source of considerable enjoyment for anyone who made his acquaintance.

    His heavenly rest is well deserved, but this extraordinary, gentle giant of a man will be extraordinarily missed.

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