Funeral held for former US Congressman Andy Jacobs

Hundreds gathered to remember former U.S. Rep. Andy Jacobs.
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Hundreds of people from all political persuasions filled the Statehouse Rotunda Friday afternoon, celebrating the life and legacy of former Indiana Congressman Andy Jacobs.

Jacobs represented Indianapolis in Congress from 1965 to 1973 and again from 1975 to 1997. The Democratic lawmaker had a hand in crafting the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He died last week at the age of 81.

A soloist sang one of the most memorable songs from the musical "Man of La Mancha." The words of "To Dream the Impossible Dream" echoed through the Statehouse as the crowd quieted down.

Jacobs didn't bother with windmills, he took on political buzz saws, including civil rights, the Vietnam War and the social and financial security of senior citizens.

Admirers praised his accomplishments Friday and consoled his family, hailing Jacobs as a voice of the voiceless, a congressman with opponents, but no enemies, including political adversary, Governor Mike Pence.

"His opinions were always paired with political kindness and that made him a man difficult to debate, but impossible to dislike," Pence said.

As a congressman, Jacobs refused pay raises and opposed big spending, even at home. His sons joked about their dad's old car and a call staffers took from Capitol police.

"Saying some bum is parked in Congressman Jacobs' spot, they said, 'Yeah, it's him'," said Andy Jacobs Jr.

Jacobs led with unyielding principal, returning large campaign contributions and never attacking a political opponent.

"His humility was contagious. He only saw the good in people, that's the truth," said son Steven Jacobs.

Before being elected to Jacobs' former congressional seat, André Carson knew him as a babysitter and mentor.

"Andy gives us something to aspire to. To be friendly, to be more civil, to be more accepting of our differences and stand up for our beliefs," said Carson.

Jacobs' voice was often far from the bandwagon of political and popular opinion. He lost more than his fair share of battles, but his principled and sometimes quirky approach made people stop and think.

His is a voice friends and even foes will remember and miss.

Flags at the Statehouse and other government offices were flown at half-staff in honor of Jacobs. His family surrounded his casket as it was brought into the Statehouse Rotunda Friday morning.