President Barack Obama as well as several local politicians shared their thoughts on the legacy of Senator Arlen Specter, who died Sunday at the age of 82.
From President Obama:
Arlen Specter was always a fighter. From his days stamping out corruption as a prosecutor in Philadelphia to his three decades of service in the Senate, Arlen was fiercely independent – never putting party or ideology ahead of the people he was chosen to serve. He brought that same toughness and determination to his personal struggles, using his own story to inspire others. When he announced that his cancer had returned in 2005, Arlen said, "I have beaten a brain tumor, bypass heart surgery and many tough political opponents and I'm going to beat this, too." Arlen fought that battle for seven more years with the same resolve he used to fight for stem-cell research funding, veterans’ health, and countless other issues that will continue to change lives for years to come. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Joan and the rest of the Specter family.
From Vice President Joe Biden:
Jill and I are deeply saddened. Arlen Specter was a great Senator who lived his life the way he died, with dignity and courage. He was my friend and I admired him a great deal.
For over three decades, I watched his political courage accomplish great feats and was awed by his physical courage to never give up. Arlen never walked away from his principles and was at his best when they were challenged.
Jill and I are thinking of Joan at the moment – she was an incredible partner through his life journey. Our hearts go out to Shanin and Stephen and all who were deeply touched by his life.
From Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick:
The passing of Arlen Specter represents a loss to the people of Pennsylvania he represented for three decades in the United States Senate and to the country he served so diligently throughout his career.
In the history of our Commonwealth, few men have had such an impact on the lives of so many, from the constituents he served, to the careers he started, to his wife Joan, his sons Shanin and Steve, and his four granddaughters.
A man who put his constituents and his principles ahead of party loyalty and never one to give up without a fight, Arlen Specter will forever serve as an example to future generations as a true public servant.
Having worked with Arlen on issues ranging from judicial nominees to bringing the National Veterans Cemetery to Bucks County, I know firsthand that he was a fierce advocate for his beliefs and his constituents.
My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Specter’s family and friends in these difficult times.
From Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn:
Senator Arlen Specter was a true Pennsylvania institution whose record of fighting for our Commonwealth is unmatched. Senator Specter's contributions to Pennsylvania and the United States will leave a lasting legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Specter's family during this difficult time.
From Delaware Senator Tom Carper:
In a time when Washington D.C. is badly divided, we need bridge builders. Arlen Specter was foremost among them. For many of his years in the U.S. Senate, he was a Republican and later on a Democrat. Regardless of which party Arlen caucused with, he sought to bring Democrats and Republicans together to get things done for our country. It was a privilege to serve with him in the Senate and to know him as a friend and as a neighbor. We miss him. I send my very deepest sympathy to his wife, Joan, and his family on their loss and on ours.
From Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey:
A man of sharp intelligence and dogged determination, Sen. Specter dedicated his life to public service and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His impact on our state and public policy will not be forgotten. My wife Kris and I send our thoughts and prayers to Joan and the entire Specter family.
From Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey:
I am deeply saddened to learn that my friend Arlen Specter has passed away. I had the honor and privilege of working with him in the U.S. Senate on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania. Arlen was a statesman and a problem solver who was able to work with Democrats and Republicans in the best interest of our Commonwealth and our Country. Arlen fought cancer courageously and his enduring legacy of support for the National Institutes of Health will help countless Americans as they battle cancer and other ailments. My thoughts and prayers are with Joan, Shanin, Stephen and his entire family.
From Mayor Michael Nutter:
Senator Arlen Specter was a great man and a great public servant. He served this City as District Attorney and as United States Senator from Pennsylvania for many, many years. He cared about people, gave voice to the voiceless, and stood up for everyday Philadelphians, Pennsylvanians and Americans at every opportunity. I certainly enjoyed a very warm, personal and professional relationship with him during my time as a member of City Council, and even more importantly, as Mayor of our great City. His door and resources were always open and available to virtually any request I made on behalf of the City. He displayed gutsy, bold, strategic leadership on any number of issues, and most recently, he demonstrated strong support for healthcare reform and President Obama’s economic recovery plan. We will all miss the voice and leadership of Senator Arlen Specter. May God bless him, his wife Joan, and his family.
From Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason:
The Republican Party of Pennsylvania extends its deepest sympathies to the friends and family members of former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. Senator Specter will always be remembered for his many years of dedicated public service.
From Pennsylvania Congressman Jim Gerlach:
Arlen Specter was a dedicated public servant and tireless advocate for Pennsylvania. He was always willing to work with every member of the Pennsylvania delegation to address the needs of the communities we serve and the people we are privileged to represent. Senator Specter was a helpful partner in my efforts to honor the service of our veterans and the sacrifice of their families with the opening of a veterans’ cemetery in southeastern Pennsylvania. We also collaborated on the Chester County Public Safety Training Center project to ensure emergency responders would receive the very best training to save lives and keep themselves safe. A skilled prosecutor and legislator, Senator Specter never shied away from vigorous debates even with members of his own political party. I would like to offer sincere condolences to the entire Specter family.
From Former Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum:
Serving with Senator Specter for more than a decade, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he was a fighter, and his commitment to public service was admirable. Karen and I extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the entire Specter family as they mourn their loss.