Long-serving Pennsylvania Congressman Dies

Rep John Murtha, (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel, passed away Monday at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., according to his spokesman Mathew Mazonkey. Murtha was 77. Mazonkey said the Congressman died peacefully in his hospital bed with his family at his side. He was attempting to bounce back from recent gall bladder surgery. Murtha was in his 19th term and was eighth most senior member of the House. First elected in 1974, the former Marine was the first Vietnam War veteran to serve in Congress. Just this past Saturday, Feb. 6, Murtha became Pennsylvania’s longest serving member of Congress. Among his stances affecting the Air Force, Murtha advocated a dual buy in the KC-X tanker contest and supported maintaining two engines for the F-35 strike fighter. (Murtha’s official biography)