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Baltimore Sun


Former Virginia congressman

Stanford Parris, 80, who served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from Northern Virginia's 8th District, died Saturday of heart disease at his home in Mathews County, Va.

Parris, who was a lawyer and car dealer before entering politics, was first elected in 1972, then returned to Congress from 1981 to 1991. A one-time Air Force fighter pilot, he survived several hard-fought campaigns and was among the first Republicans to gain a foothold in modern-day Virginia politics.

During his first term in Congress, he won the gratitude of football fans by introducing a bill prohibiting the National Football League from having television blackouts of sold-out games. He also helped transfer control of Dulles and National airports from the Federal Aviation Administration to a regional airport authority. As ranking Republican on the House District Committee, he was a persistent critic of D.C. government and often quarreled with former Mayor Marion Barry.

Parris possessed a blunt, direct style that served him well on the campaign trail. He had three epic electoral battles with Democratic Rep. Herbert Harris, losing in 1974 but ousting Harris from Congress in 1980. Parris defeated Harris in a rematch in 1982, spending $700,000 in Virginia's most expensive congressional campaign at that point.

"They were tough campaigns," recalled U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican. "They were almost like the Lincoln-Douglas debates."

Stanford Elmer Parris was born Sept. 9, 1929, in Champaign, Ill., and was a graduate of the University of Illinois.

During the Korean War, he piloted fighter jets and was once rescued after being shot down over North Korea. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal.

He finished George Washington University law school in 1958, settled in Fairfax, Va., and practiced law. He later owned car dealerships in Prince William County, Va.

After serving on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1969, as one of nine Republicans in the body. He was Virginia's secretary of the commonwealth in 1978.

Parris lost the Republican nomination for governor in 1985 and 1989 and failed in a bid for the Virginia state senate in 1995. After losing his congressional seat to Democrat James Moran in 1990, he was administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. and was a counsel to the law firm of Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin and Oshinsky.

His marriages to Jane McCullough Parris and Sonja Parris ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Martha Harper Parris of Mathews County and Melbourne; three children from his first marriage, Michael Parris of Los Angeles, Ann Parris of Culpeper, Va., and Susan Parris Littlewood of Mount Airy; and two grandsons.

- The Washington Post


Abscam corruption case figure

A longtime Philadelphia City Council member whose career was ended by his conviction in the Abscam public corruption case three decades ago has died. George X. Schwartz was 95.

Schwartz died Friday, according to the Joseph Levine & Son funeral home. The cause of his death hasn't been disclosed. His funeral was Sunday.

Schwartz spent more than 20 years as a Philadelphia council member, the last eight as council president.

His career unraveled after he was videotaped in January 1980 accepting $30,000 from an FBI agent posing as a phony sheik's representative. The agent told Schwartz the sheik planned to build a luxury hotel and wanted to establish relationships with influential public officials.

Schwartz argued he was entrapped. But he was convicted of conspiracy and extortion. He started a one-year federal prison sentence in 1985.

- Associated Press

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