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Longtime Arizona GOP Rep. Jim Kolbe dies at 80

Rep. Jim Kolbe
John Miller
AP Photo
Former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe sits for a photo in the living room of his house in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 15, 2007. Kolbe, a Republican congressman who represented a heavily Democratic region of Arizona for more than two decades and was a proponent of gay rights, died Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. He was 80.

Jim Kolbe, who represented Arizona in Congress for more than two decades, has died.

A statement from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's office says Kolbe died Saturday at the age of 80.

Kolbe was elected to the U.S. House in 1984, serving 11 terms before he retired.

In Congress, he often was at odds with other Republicans over his support for free trade, an immigrant guest worker program and gay rights.

He reluctantly announced in 1996 that he was gay but said he didn't want that to define him.

Ducey called Kolbe's life and service to Arizona remarkable.