Democratic Rep. John P. Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania's 12th
district for 36 years, died today at the age of 77. He died in an
Arlington, Va. hospital with his family at his side after suffering
complications from gallbladder surgery.
Murtha earned considerable influence in Congress as head of
the powerful House Defense Appropriations subcommittee. He used his
position of power to secure billions
in federal tax dollars for his district, which has struggled with the
widespread loss of coal and steel jobs, but came under intense scrutiny
for his ties to companies for which he has secured earmarks.
Murtha, who joined Congress in 1974, was the first Vietnam
War combat veteran elected to the House. After 19 terms, he was one of
the longest-serving members of the House and the eighth-most senior
member. He was also the longest-serving member from Pennsylvania.
I know there is plenty to cover on his career, both the ups and the downs, but that will wait until later. For now, our best thoughts go out to his family and friends. [Image]