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Jim Kolbe, former republican US Rep. from Arizona, dead at 80

Jim Kolbe

Former Rep. Jim Kolbe, a moderate Republican from Tucson who advocated free trade and liberalized immigration rules during his 22 years in Washington, has died at age 80.

“Pima County and Southern Arizona could always count on Jim Kolbe,” Sharon Bronson, the Pima County Board of Supervisors chair, said Saturday in a written statement announcing his death. “Whether when he was in the state Legislature or in the Congress, the man from Patagonia always acted in the best interests of Southern Arizona.

“Jim was old school Republican in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower – a friend of business and the environment.

“The preservation and conservation of beloved wild spaces and cultural treasures like Canoa Ranch and the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area are the result in large part to Jim’s leadership while in the Congress.”