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'Jet' Banks Remembered

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'Jet' Banks (State of Missouri photo)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Former Missouri State Senator J.B. "Jet" Banks died last weekend at the age of 79. He served parts of St. Louis City in the Legislature for three decades.

In 1996, he became the first black elected official to gain the number two spot in the state Senate (Majority Leader).

St. Louis pastor and activist B.T. Rice says Missouri has suffered "a tremendous loss" by Banks' death.

Banks stepped down in 1999, citing health problems. That came shortly after he pleaded guilty to not filing two tax returns.

Banks died of natural causes Sunday in Las Vegas at age 79. He served in the Missouri legislature for nearly three decades, and became Senate majority leader in 1996. Banks stepped down in 1999 after he was convicted of filing false state income tax returns.

Rice says despite that incident, Banks will be remembered positively. "I think his legacy will live for years and years to come, as to the good that he brought as a senator and other positions that he held," Rice said. "I'm sure that they're going to overshadow these last problems and situations that he had."

Funeral arrangements for Banks are pending. He died Sunday in a Las Vegas hospital.

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