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Tri-State-area lawmakers remember Ford

November 30, 1999

Tri-State-area lawmakers on Wednesday praised former President Gerald R. Ford and said they were saddened by his death.

American and state flags flew at half-staff at state and federal facilities and at many private companies in memory of the 38th president.

"Gerald Ford was the kind of leader America needed in the wake of the Watergate scandal ... he stood firmly for the principle that truth is at the core of democracy and responsible government," Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said in a written statement. "The pardoning of President Nixon was a controversial and courageous act. He had to know that it would be terribly harmful to his own political future ? and yet he rose to the moment, and helped to put our country on the path to healing that we so badly needed."

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., said America lost a "true patriot."

"President Ford worked to heal the nation after one of the most turbulent periods in our history," Byrd said in a written statement. "His actions were defined by his patriotism and his belief that America had to move forward instead of looking back."

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Ford approached problems using common sense with the goal of making the future of the country brighter, Byrd said.

"President Ford was one of the kindest, most sincere elected officials whom I have known and with whom I have worked ... Although he and I were from different political parties, we often were able to find common ground and work together for our country," Byrd said.  

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett asked residents of Maryland's 6th District to salute Ford, saying he preserved and strengthened the country. Ford also lived his life with dignity and dedication to duty, said Bartlett, R-Md.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Ford was devoted to public service.

"President Ford stepped into the hardest job in the world at a trying moment in our country's history," Capito said in a statement. "He shepherded America away from a constitutional crisis with the class and decency he always lived by ..."

President George W. Bush ordered that U.S. flags be flown at half-staff at the White House and on federal property for 30 days. Governors followed suit and ordered the same for state flags.

"During his 29 months in office, President Ford built a legacy that will long be remembered for helping to heal a divided nation and moving America forward ? an example that should continue to inspire leaders today," Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell said in a press release.

? Tara Reilly

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