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David Declerque

David Declerque

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Also Known As: David De Clerque Died:
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A former pest-control business owner-turned-politician, former Republican congressman Tom Delay rose to the top of national politics during the heyday of the Clinton impeachment, only to crumble a few years later under the weight of his own public scandal. Born on April 8, 1947 in Laredo, TX, Delay grew up with his family in Venezuela, where his father worked in the oil business. The family eventually moved back to Texas, where he attended Calallen High School in Corpus Christi, followed by a two year stint at Baylor University which ended in his expulsion for drinking and vandalism. After marrying high school sweetheart, Christine Furrh, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Houston in 1970. Delay spent the first three years after college working for pesticide maker, Redwood Chemical, which later became the source for his nickname, The Exterminator. He left Redwood to form his own extermination company, Albo Pest Control, and became, in his words, the "best weasel killer in Houston."Feeling the burden of government on his business, Delay ran for and won an open seat in the Texas House of Representatives in 1978. At the time, he was struggling with alcoholism and...

A former pest-control business owner-turned-politician, former Republican congressman Tom Delay rose to the top of national politics during the heyday of the Clinton impeachment, only to crumble a few years later under the weight of his own public scandal. Born on April 8, 1947 in Laredo, TX, Delay grew up with his family in Venezuela, where his father worked in the oil business. The family eventually moved back to Texas, where he attended Calallen High School in Corpus Christi, followed by a two year stint at Baylor University which ended in his expulsion for drinking and vandalism. After marrying high school sweetheart, Christine Furrh, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Houston in 1970. Delay spent the first three years after college working for pesticide maker, Redwood Chemical, which later became the source for his nickname, The Exterminator. He left Redwood to form his own extermination company, Albo Pest Control, and became, in his words, the "best weasel killer in Houston."

Feeling the burden of government on his business, Delay ran for and won an open seat in the Texas House of Representatives in 1978. At the time, he was struggling with alcoholism and was something of a playboy, which earned him the nickname "Hot Tub Tom." Six years after winning his seat in the legislature, Delay ran to represent the 22nd District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. Entering into national politics at the height of the Reagan Revolution, the hardnosed Republican fought Democrats tooth-and-nail over abortion and gun control, while making a name for himself criticizing the National Endowment for the Arts and the Environmental Protection Agency; the latter of which was proposed by former Republican president Richard Nixon. In 1988, he was selected deputy whip by then-Majority Whip, Dick Cheney. When the Republicans took over the House of Representatives after the 1994 midterm elections, Delay was selected by his party to become Majority Whip over the objections of House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

By the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the ensuing impeachment of President Bill Clinton, Delay had positioned himself as a moral exemplar in opposition to his political enemies and some of his allies, citing his born again Christianity and renunciation of his wild ways. As Majority Whip, he earned a third sobriquet, The Hammer, because of his ability to enforce party discipline and exact revenge against the opposition. Delay rose to further power during the administration of George W. Bush when he was elected Majority Leader after the retirement of his predecessor, Dick Armey, in 2003. But his stint at the top was short-lived when he was indicted in 2005 by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle for conspiracy to violate election law and money laundering, charges which stemmed from his political action committee's failure to report over $300,000 in debts and misreporting its final numbers from the 2002 election cycle. Despite public denial of the charges, Delay was forced from his leadership position in early 2006 and eventually bowed out from running for another term, effectively ending his political career.

Though he was gone from political office, Delay remained in the public eye and made frequent appearances on numerous opinion shows on all the cable news networks, including CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. He also published a book, No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight, in 2007. Co-written with Stephen Mansfield, the memoir covered his rise in politics while seeking to refurbish his dilapidated public image. While laying low for much of 2008, sans the occasional cable appearance during the election, Delay made a return to the spotlight when he was named as a surprising addition to the season nine cast of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ). Delay was previously linked to the dance competition in the fall of 2006 when he sent out a blast email asking for people to vote for country singer, Sara Evans, who had been a strong Republican supporter as well as the wife of GOP fundraiser, Craig Schelske. The attempt to sway the vote ended in embarrassment when Evans left the show and announced her divorce from Schelske. At the time of his inclusion in the season nine cast, Delay was still awaiting trial for his indictments.

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