Crawdaddy

'Let my people go,' bellows the gentleman from Little Egypt

Say what you want about the Mississippi congressional delegation, our congressmen are pretty low key. In other words, no match for the representative just elected in the congressional district where I grew up in Southern Illinois.

It has a history of finding some of the most colorful characters to send to D.C.

Take Ken Gray of West Frankfort. The car salesman/magician was the congressman when I was young. He opened his own roller rink when he was a teen and was an auctioneer before opening his car lot. 

As a congressman he turned up on "To Tell the Truth" doing his magic act and daring Polly Bergen, Ralph Bellamy, Monique van Vooren and Tom Poston to guess his real line of work. They didn't and I was flabbergasted.

He introduced Congress to Elizabeth Ray, the non-typing secretary who went on to introduce congressman Wayne Hayes of Ohio to the unemployment line. Gray retired soon after.

But he mounted a comeback as the "Prince of Pork" in the 1980s and I covered one of his victory parties that had the largest pork roast I've ever seen as the centerpiece of the spread. 

Which brings us to Mike Bost, elected Tuesday to the district that replaced the one Gray served. His opponent tried to use one of his statehouse tirades against him that election. It backfired. Seems Southern Illinoisans thought he was just the kind of guy Washington needs. Here's the clip so you can decide if you believe the are right.

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