San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement following the passing of former California Congressman Fortney ‘Pete’ Stark, the former Dean of the California Delegation, who served in Congress for forty years:
“Today, America has lost a champion of the people and a leader of great integrity, moral courage and compassion. Congressman Pete Stark was a master legislator who used his gavel to give a voice to the voiceless, and he will be deeply missed by Congress, Californians and all Americans.
“Congressman Stark dedicated his life to defending every American’s right to quality, affordable health care. As the longtime leader of the critical Health Subcommittee on the Ways and Means Committee, he made a difference in the lives of millions – from creating the COBRA initiative to help working Americans maintain their coverage during times of financial insecurity, authoring life-saving legislation ensuring that hospitals must treat all people seeking emergency treatment regardless of their coverage and protecting Medicare from partisan attacks. Personally and professionally, I was proud to work with Pete to pass the Affordable Care Act, which stands as a pillar of health and economic security in America today.
“Congressman Stark will rightly be remembered and celebrated for his commitment to fighting for those in need, particularly America’s children. His work to advance the well-being of America’s foster children and ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in adoptions, enact paid family leave, strengthen access to quality education, protect clean air and clean water and leave our children a more peaceful world leaves a powerful and lasting legacy. He fully and fundamentally believed that government was about fighting for the people’s interest, not the special interests, and cherished his responsibility to lift up families in the Bay Area.
“Congressman Stark’s courageous commitment to justice and equality strengthened the Congress and country. His leadership and friendship will be missed by his many friends across our nation. Our California Delegation was privileged and proud to serve with and learn from Pete and to carry on his legacy today. May it be a comfort to his wife, Deborah, his children, Jeffrey, Beatrice, Thekla, Sarah, Fortney ‘Fish’, Hannah and Andrew, his eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and the entire Stark family that so many mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”
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