Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stephen Solarz, 1940-2010. R.I.P.

Stephen Solarz, a Brooklyn Democrat who served nearly two decades in Congress, died yesterday of esophogeal cancer. He was 70.

Solarz was first elected to Congress following the Watergate scandal in 1974. He became something of an anomaly in the Democratic Party - a foreign policy hawk. A Scoop Jackson if you will. In 1991, Solarz was one of the most outspoken Democrats in favor of authorizing Saddam Hussein's removal from Kuwait.

Solarz was also a noted critic of the Ferdinand Marcos regime in the Phillipines. I did not know it was Solarz who revealed Imelda Marcos' extensive shoe collection.

However, Solarz's legislative career came to an abrupt end in 1992 after his congressional district was redrawn and became more predominantly Hispanic. Solarz would lose the Democratic nomination to Nydia Velazquez, who holds this seat to this very day.

I remember Solarz's dismay in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square when he debated Henry Kissinger on the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour. I wish I had video to link but here's Solarz speaking out on the subject in June 1989.

No comments: