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Jack Kemp, a Buffalo champion

When Jack Kemp died on Saturday, it also was the end of an era for Western New York.  

Kemp was a champion of his adopted hometown in all ways. He came to a thriving city in 1962 to quarterback the Buffalo Bills when the team still played its games in the city, at War Memorial Stadium. With Kemp as their leader, the Bills won the AFL championship two years in a row — in 1964 and 1965. 
 
Off the field, Kemp embraced Western New York as much as the fans embraced him. He became active in the community, was an elder in his church and then, after football, represented the Buffalo suburbs as a congressman.

Although Kemp did not return to Buffalo to live after his time in Congress, he, like Tim Russert after him, continued to represent the area in Washington, as a model of its integrity and grit.

When running for vice president in 1996, he declared, “Buffalo, N.Y., is my hometown ... Don’t let anybody tell you it’s not. ... I learned every lesson in politics and football from being a congressman and a quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.”

No. 15, you will be missed. 
 
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