Frequently over his decades as a public speaker, Ed Foreman introduced himself to audiences as a reformed politician.
“I know how some of you are feeling right now,” he told audiences at the opening of a 2014 seminar. “You’re thinking, if this guy’s been elected to the United States Congress from two different states, done all this politicking with five different presidents and all this business, I guess we’re going to be exposed to a bunch of politics here today, are we?
“No, I’ve gone straight and I work for a living now,” he said with the timing of a master comedian.
Foreman’s claim about his unusual congressional career was no tall tale: The Portales, New Mexico native served one term in the House of Representatives representing west Texas from 1963 to 1965, and later — after returning to New Mexico — won another term in Congress from 1969 to 1971. He was the only member of Congress in the 20th century to represent two different states in Washington, D.C.
Ed Foreman — an entrepreneur turned politician before his long career as a motivational speaker and trainer — died at age 88 on Feb. 2.
An obituary did not disclose the location or cause of Foreman’s death. He had been a Dallas resident, where his home-based enterprise, Executive Development Systems, was located.
Born on a Roosevelt County farm in 1933, Foreman attended Eastern New Mexico University before completing a civil engineering degree at New Mexico A & M College, later known as New Mexico State University, in 1955.
Before entering politics, Foreman made a fortune through various businesses including several in the oil industry as well as management training services. He was the lone Republican to be elected by Texas’ 16th congressional district, which includes El Paso, in the 20th century. After a single term he was unseated in 1964 by Democrat Richard C. White.
Foreman returned to Las Cruces after his first stint in Congress, where he was again involved in numerous enterprises before making another run for the House, this time in New Mexico’s newly drawn 2nd Congressional District, unseating Democrat E.S. “Johnny” Walker in 1968, the year Republican Richard M. Nixon won the presidency.
After a single term, however, Foreman lost the seat to Democrat Harold Runnels and later served in the interior and transportation departments and the Southwest Federal Regional Council under Nixon and Ford.
After leaving government and politics in 1976, he focused on motivational training and keynote speaking, performing with an upbeat persona, speaking at a brisk pace with a wealth of folksy tales seasoning lectures with titles such as, “How to Have a Good Day Every Day!”
His loquaciousness landed him in hot water on at least one occasion: While attending a friend’s sentencing hearing in 2014 in a Chicago federal court, the 80-year-old Foreman was removed from the courtroom after repeatedly addressing the judge from the gallery, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Foreman’s death was first announced locally by New Mexico State University Foundation President Derek Dictson in an email to NMSU leadership earlier this month.
“Ed lived an extraordinary life and we will miss him deeply – especially his humor, wisdom, and deep commitment to making both NMSU and New Mexico outstanding places to live and learn,” he wrote.
Foreman was a member of the university Dean’s Advisory Council. He received an honorary degree there in 2008 and, with his wife, Barbara Southard Foreman, endowed an engineering scholarship in 2015.
NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu called Foreman “one of our most supportive and distinguished Aggies” in a statement on Feb. 7.
University spokesperson Justin Bannister said a formal celebration of Foreman’s life was planned, but no date or other details were available yet.