Tom Foley represented Eastern Washington for nearly 30 years as a member of the United States Congress. In 1989 he became Washington State's first Speaker of the House. In 1994 he was defeated by George R. Nethercutt, Jr., who used the leverage that Foley was able to exert for Eastern Washington against Foley, in an "anti-pork" campaign. George Nethercutt also used the term limits issue to defeat Foley, promising to step down after six years (he did not). Tom Foley is currently serving as the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Despite the favors that Foley was able to provide Eastern Washington, such as keeping Fairchild Airforce base open, and building a ten million dollar army core of engineers headquarters in Walla Walla, the residents of Eastern Washington decided to send a message to Congress by removing the most powerful Congressman they had ever had. It was one of the clearest signs of the growing discontent that had spread across the entire nation in the election of 1994.

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