(JTA) - Former US vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen, a strong supporter of Israel, died Tuesday at 85.

Bentsen, a Democrat, had close ties with the Texas Jewish community during his years as a member of the US House of Representatives from 1949-1955 and as a senator from 1971-1993, when he became President Clinton's first treasury secretary. Bentsen was also a vice-presidential candidate in the 1988 elections.

He helped integrate Jews into the exclusive River Oaks Country Club in Houston and was behind the first appointment of a Jewish judge, Norman Black, to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals during the Carter administration. In his retirement, he was a supporter of the Holocaust Museum Houston.

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