Statement by President Barack Obama:
Today, America has lost a legend of the United States Congress. For thirty years, Tom Foley represented the people of Washington's 5th district with skill, dedication, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of those he was elected to serve. Tom's straightforward approach helped him find common ground with members of both parties, eventually leading to his election as the 57th Speaker of the House. After his career in Congress, Tom served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, where his poise and civility helped strengthen our relationship with one of our closest allies. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Tom's wife, Heather, and the entire Foley family.
Statement by Vice President Joe Biden:
Jill and I were saddened to hear of the passing of former Speaker Tom Foley. Tom was a good friend and a dedicated public servant. It was an honor to work with him during the budget summits of the 1980s that did so much to secure our nation's future, and when he served overseas as our nation's Ambassador to Japan. He was a good man.
Governor Inslee's statement on the passing of former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley:
Washington lost a historic figure today with the passing of former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley. Trudi and I extend our condolences to Heather, the entire Foley family and his friends.
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, prosecutor, Ambassador to Japan - Tom Foley did all of those things in the course of his life. And at the heart of every one of those roles was a passion to serve. He served the victims of crime. He served the citizens of Spokane. He served the state of Washington. And he served this great nation of ours. He was a giant at a time when bipartisan cooperation for the good of the country was the norm, not the exception.
He dedicated his life to making his community, his state, and his country a better place. He did it by reaching across the aisle, by bringing people together, by finding common ground. A true statesman knows how to unite people around their mutual, shared interests, while still respecting the differences among individuals. That's the example Tom set, and it's something all public servants should strive to emulate.
It was an honor to serve with him during my time in Congress. He will be missed.
Statement from U.S. Senator Patty Murray:
When I was first elected to Congress, Tom was serving as Speaker of the House, and I will never forget the way he welcomed me to 'the other Washington,' and the incredible example he set as a tireless public servant for our state.
Tom spent his life serving his state and his country, and his legacy is felt not only in Eastern Washington, but around the world. From his work to build new roads, protect public lands, and bring federal resources to Spokane, to his career as a statesman overseas, Tom touched the lives of everyone he encountered, whether it was a wheat farmer in Washington or a foreign dignitary in Japan.
He will be missed by me and by all those who knew him. My thoughts are with his wife, Heather, and all of his family and loved ones today.
Statement from US Ambassador, former Wash. governer Gary Locke:
I join people today across America and the world in remembering the extraordinary life of Thomas S. Foley.
I first had the privilege of meeting Tom when I was in the Washington State Legislature in the 1980's. In the years since he became a friend and mentor and I leaned on him frequently for his sound advice and wise counsel spanning my years serving as Governor of the State of Washington and then as United States Secretary of Commerce. Few men who have ever served in Congress have had the unequaled influence and record of accomplishment that Tom provided the people of Eastern Washington, and our Nation, for three decades.
Tom Foley was a gentle giant, a true patriot, and a devoted servant of the people. He will be sorely missed, and Mona and I extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Heather, and the rest of the Foley family over his loss.
Statement from Congressman Adam Smith:
My thoughts and prayers are with the family of former U.S. Speaker of the House Tom Foley. Tom was a tremendous leader in the Washington State Delegation that will not be forgotten. In his 30 years of service in the House of Representatives and his 5+ years as Speaker, Tom's kindness, fairness, and honesty allowed him to reach across the aisle and advance policies that benefitted Washington State and the country as a whole. This is a sad day for Washington State. Tom was a wonderful man and he will be deeply missed.
Partial statement from Washington State University:
Our country has lost a true statesman with the passing of Speaker Foley, said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. During his tenure in office and long afterward, he personified the intelligence, civility, humility and bipartisanship necessary to make wise public policy happen.
His commitment to research and education was evident in everything he did; we are dedicated to honoring and advancing that legacy at the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, Floyd said.
We are all deeply saddened by news of the passing of Speaker Tom Foley, said Cornell Clayton, director of the Foley Institute. He was an inspirational politician whose commitment to civility and to honor in politics and public service underpins the philosophy of the institute that bears his name here, in the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU.
Full release from WSU