Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe, who represented Arizona’s fifth Congressional
district for over twenty years, passed away on Saturday, December 3.

for fighting for gay rights and considered one of the greatest leaders of
Arizona, Kolbe suffered a stroke at age 80 on Saturday.

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Who was Jim Kolbe?

Thomas Kolbe was born on June 28, 1942, in Evanston, Illinois. He grew up in
Santa Cruz where his family moved when he was 5 years old.

graduated from the United States Capitol Page
School in 1960 and completed his higher education at Northwestern University
in Arizona where he was a member of the Acacia fraternity. He has served in the
United States Navy.

1976, Kolbe ran for the Arizona Senate and defeated his Democratic rival. He
served three terms in that body.

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1982, Kolbe resigned from his position to run for the 5th
Congressional district of Arizona. Although he lost to Democrat Jim McNulty by
one percent that term, he won the next term that happened in 1984. He became
the first and the only Republican to represent the Arizona-Mexico border till

represented that body from 1985 till 2003, serving a total of 11 terms in
his position. In 2005, Kolbe announced that he would not seek a 12th
term in 2006.

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Kolbe voted in favor of the Defence of Marriage Act, gay rights activists tried
to out him. In August 1996, he came out as gay. In 2000, he became the first
openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention and became the second openly gay Republican to serve in

Kolbe left the Republican
Party in 2018 and endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for the 2020 Presidential

was married to Sarah Dinham, a professor at the University of Arizona from 1977
to 1992. He married his partner Hector Alfonso in 2013.