Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection


Henry Sirgo

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 104


Jim Wright was born in Fort Worth Texas on December 22, 1922. He attended Weatherford College, 1939-40, University of Texas, 1940-41, and joined the U. S. Army Air Force in 1941. He was commissioned in 1942 and flew missions in the Pacific, where he received the distinguished Flying Cross. He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1947-1949, and was Mayor of Weatherford, 1950-1954. He served as President of the League of Texas Municipalities in 1953. From 1955 to 1989, he served in the United States House of Representatives representing the 12th District of Texas. He held various positions in the House, including Deputy Whip, Majority leader (95-99th Congresses), and Speaker of the House, 1987- 1989. He ran for Majority leader, 1976; and was a delegate for the Democratic National Convention, 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968. He served as co-campaign manager for the Presidential election of 1968 in Texas. He was Democratic National Convention chairman in 1988, and wrote Balance of Power.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: the 1968 vice presidential campaign; the 1969-1972 presidential campaign; Muskie’s term as Secretary of State; environmental protection; Wright’s work planning a November 1963 Kennedy fundraising dinner in Fort Worth; John F. Kennedy’s last speech given in Fort Worth; being a member of the Kennedy motorcade on November 22, 1963, when the President was shot; raising funds for abolition of the poll tax in Texas; being one of 71 candidates for Lyndon Johnson’s vacant Senate seat, the 1961 Democratic primary; Hale Boggs; Sam Rayburn; serving as Majority leader in the House for ten years; soil conservation; Weatherford, Texas; 1960 matching funds for cities for waste water treatment facilities; James Watt; conservation radio addresses by the Carter administration; barge canal project; evolution of Congress with environmental legislation; 1972 unanimous vote for the Clean Water Act; Anti- impoundment and Budget Pact, 1973; genesis of budget committees; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Use Restrictions

Copyright Bates College. This transcript is provided for individual Research Purposes Only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.