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Historical Highlights

The Portrait of Jack Brooks of Texas

November 19, 1987
The Portrait of Jack Brooks of Texas Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Government Operations Committee Chairman Jack Brooks of Texas also chaired the Committee on Judiciary and the Joint Committee on Congressional Operations.
On this date the Government Operations Committee unveiled a portrait of Chairman Jack Brooks of Texas. Brooks had served on the committee since 1953, and had wielded the gavel for a dozen years already when the portrait was installed in the hearing room. The painting showed Brooks holding a cigar and appearing far more approachable than most speakers at the unveiling recalled. As Representative Frank Horton of New York recounted, “Every once in a while we get a picture of him peering over those glasses at the hearing, cigar in mouth, hands grabbing the side of the podium as though his is ready to strike the witness.” Brooks was a Texan and former Marine who served two years in the Pacific during World War II. Elected to the House in 1952, he quickly became one of “Mr. Sam’s Boys,” protégés of Speaker Sam Rayburn. On the Government Operations Committee, he became known as an opponent of inefficiency. He sponsored bills to reduce paperwork, eliminate duplicative audits, and establish the Department of Education. Brooks also served on the House Judiciary Committee, which he chaired from 1989 to 1995.

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