Born July 21, 1931, in Kawkawlin, Michigan, Jerome Bob Traxler attended schools in Bay City before earning degrees from Michigan State University and the Detroit College of Law, according to a congressional biography.
He served in the U.S. Army in the 1950s, practiced law in Bay County and was an assistant prosecutor from 1960-62 for the county.
From 1962-74, Mr. Traxler served in the state Legislature. He was a majority leader in the House of Representatives from 1965-66, colleagues said.
Following state voters approval of a referendum in 1972, Mr. Traxler spearheaded a bill that paved the way for the Michigan Lottery, The News reported. Relatives said his efforts led to the nickname “Bingo Bob.”
In 1974, he won a congressional seat vacated by Republican James Harvey, who had been appointed a federal judge.
He was re-elected nine times, congressional records show.
The Michigan native represented the 8th Congressional District, which once included most of the Thumb region as well as Bay City and Saginaw, in Washington from 1974-93. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat, represents the district now.
During his tenure, the Democrat rose through the ranks to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, which allocates federal money. He was among its 13 subcommittee chairmen, who were called the “College of Cardinals” because of their vast influence over government spending, The Detroit News reported.
“I remember watching Bob’s career from a young age and admiring his work for our state,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, in a statement. “I am grateful that I was able to depend on Bob’s advice after being elected to Congress.”
His daughter, Sarah Traxler, recalls her father as “a people person” who anticipated returning to Michigan to interact with voters and hear their needs. “I don’t think it was work for him,” she said.
In 1992, Mr. Traxler announced he would not seek re-election, saying he could “no longer endure the pain” of serving amid political gridlock and unaddressed issues.
Mr. Traxler went on to join the MSU Board of Trustees and the Mackinac Island State Park Commission.
Mr. Traxler died Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019
Source : Mark Hicks, “Bob Traxler, former Michigan congressman, lived ‘life of public service'”, Detroit News, October 31, 2018.