Local Elected Officials Remember Murtha

Tributes are rolling in for U.S. Rep. John Murtha, who died today at the age of 77. Here are some press releases we've received so far:

From U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak:

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the Murtha family at this very difficult time. His service to our nation in Congress reflected an unyielding commitment to his constituents, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our nation. However, he holds my greatest respect for the courage he showed in serving as a United States Marine and subsequently becoming the first Vietnam combat veteran elected to Congress. In doing so, he gave a voice to millions of men and women who fought in an unpopular war and were not afforded the respect and care they earned and deserved.

It was a privilege to work with him on a number of issues, and I am especially appreciative of the help he gave me as a mentor, whether it was on an approach within the halls of Congress, specific legislative items, or coming to my District to assist at key events. We should all be grateful for his commitment to public service for his District, Pennsylvania and this nation.”

From U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah:

“Chairman Murtha will be remembered as a man who was not just Congressman from Johnstown, he was the Congressman for Philadelphia, the Congressman for Pittsburgh, for Allentown, for every corner of our Commonwealth. He really carried the weight of Pennsylvania on his shoulders. In Congress, he always sat in the same chair and he always had the same disposition: Pennsylvania first.

“Congressman Murtha, I believe, will be best remembered as the first serious hawk to stand up and call for our withdrawal from Iraq. As a former Marine – he would say ‘always a Marine’ – Jack Murtha’s courageous stand marked a turning point in America’s involvement in that ill-advised war.

“On a personal level, he was my friend, and when I was new to Congress he took me under his wing. His advice and wisdom was invaluable as I was developing the GEAR UP college-readiness program for students in high-poverty public schools. He helped me as a young member in the Congressional minority to steer GEAR UP program to enactment.

“I extend condolences to the family of Chairman Murtha and to all who cherish his memory. I will miss him enormously. All Pennsylvanians owe him our gratitude, and we will remember him in our prayers.”

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