For 34 years, Ike Skelton represented Missouri in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Now he joins Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation about his upcoming memoir Achieve the Honorable: A Missouri Congressman's Journey from Warm Springs to Washington on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Achieve the Honorable is the story of how Skelton, a native of Lexington, Missouri, overcame boyhood polio to launch a career of public service. Along the way, the book provides glimpses into the lives of political titans such as Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, and treats readers to Skelton's engaging humor and shrewd political insight.
Growing up during the Great Depression and World War II, Skelton dreamed of joining the military. That plan was shattered when he contracted polio, one of the most dreaded diseases of the era. Far from abandoning hope, Skelton, after treatment at Warm Springs, Georgia, overcame his disability and went on to become a college athlete, celebrated lawyer, Missouri state senator, and U.S. Congressman.
During his years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Skelton became known as a bipartisan negotiator and champion of the Armed Services. He helped steer the nation through its most dangerous challenges - from communism to terrorism. Skelton took a leading role in the reform of the Department of Defense, dedicated himself to service to his constituents, and rose to the position of chair of the House Armed Services Committee during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Skelton represented Missouri's 4th Congressional District from 1977-2011 and served as chairman of the Armed Services Committee from 2006-2011. Additionally, he represented Lafayette County in the Missouri Senate from 1971-1977.
This event is the second True Life, True Grit program, featuring speakers from varied backgrounds who have exhibited the courage and stick-to-itiveness of Mattie Ross, the heroine of Charles Portis' novel True Grit, the subject of this year's Kansas City Big Read.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.