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Jerry Lewis (1934–2021), former U.S. Representative from California

by Linnea Crowther

Jerry Lewis was a Republican U.S. Representative from California who served 17 terms in the House.

Political career

Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Lewis served on the San Bernardino School Board and the California State Assembly. He was first elected to the House in 1978, winning 61% of the vote. In 16 subsequent elections, he continued to win with high margins. Lewis chaired the House Appropriations Committee from 2005 to 2007, and for a time he was the third-ranking Republican in the House. He was known for his conservative voting record and his willingness to work with Democrats in bipartisan initiatives. He was also known for the large number of earmarks that brought funds to his district, a practice that sometimes brought him criticism. Lewis retired in 2013.

Lewis took in stride the connection to the comedian with whom he shared a name, Jerry Lewis (1926–2017). He said he often received fan mail for the comedian at his office, and the two worked together to raise money for children’s hospitals in California.

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Tributes to Jerry Lewis

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

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