Mike Synar, 45, a former member of the House of...


January 10, 1996

Mike Synar, 45, a former member of the House of Representatives who fought relentlessly for tobacco regulation and gun control while representing conservative Oklahoma in Congress for eight terms, died of brain cancer yesterday at his home in Washington.

Mr. Synar was diagnosed in July, less than a year after a stunning Democratic primary runoff loss to a retired teacher.

"Mike Synar was a brave and unflinching public servant who in tough political times remained true to his principles," President Clinton said. "He did not always do what was popular, but he always did what he thought was right -- for Oklahoma and for America. Throughout his life, and especially during the past six months, Mike Synar was a true profile in courage."

Despite his diagnosis, Mr. Synar remained in good spirits, a testament to the exuberant style that earned him praise from liberals and contempt from opponents.

First elected in 1978, he represented the 2nd District in northeast Oklahoma, a bastion for Democrats who are mostly conservative on such issues as gun control and government regulation.

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