Chris Matthews to speak at Tom Foley documentary premiere

Closeup of Chris Matthews.
Chris Matthews at the 2010 Time 100. Photo by David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Political commentator and TV personality Chris Matthews will address a Spokane audience at the premiere of a new documentary film about legendary former congressman and speaker of the House Thomas S. Foley on Thursday, April 21, at 6 p.m. at Riverside Place Event Center.

A best-selling author and former host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Matthews narrated the documentary, “The Gentleman Speaker: Conversations with Tom Foley,” which explores the Spokane-born legislator’s political legacy.

Matthews will introduce the film and meet with guests at a dinner to benefit Washington State University’s Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service. Tickets and information are available online at

Foley, who was first elected to Congress in 1964, represented Washington’s Fifth District for 30 years and served as speaker of the House from 1989 to 1994. He was widely known for his efforts to build political consensus and bipartisanship. Chris Matthews worked closely with Foley when Matthews worked as a top aide House Speaker Tip O’Neill.

“Chris has many stories to tell about their time together in Congress.  But he can also bring a unique historical perspective on the changes that have taken place in Congress and our party politics – not all of them good — since the days of Foley’s leadership. It will be a fascinating evening,” said Cornell Clayton, WSU political science professor and director of the Foley Institute.

The premiere screening and fundraising event is co-hosted by Foley’s widow, Heather Foley, and Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward. NBC-affiliate KHQ-TV will broadcast the documentary on Saturday, April 23.

Matthews has authored eight best-selling books, the most recent being 2021’s “This Country: My Life in Politics and History.” He has received numerous professional awards, including the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award, and the 2016 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award.

While in eastern Washington, he will visit the Foley Institute and talk with students on the WSU Pullman campus.   

The non-partisan Foley public policy and public service institute focuses on bringing world-class speakers for public events; supporting student internships in public service; and supporting scholarly research on public policy and political institutions.

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