Arlen Specter, a long-time U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, died Sunday (Oct. 14) after a long battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He passed away at his home in Philadelphia, his son Shanin tells the AP.
Specter was a Senator from Pennsylvania for 30 years. He was a Republican for most of his career, though he began his political career as a Democratic and ended it as one too. He was always preaching the benefits of political tolerance on each side of the aisle.
He was one of three Republicans to cross party lines and vote for President Obama’s economic stimulus plan in 2009, which ultimately cost him his job. Specter announced in April 2009 that he was joining the Democratic party, but in 2010, he lost in the Democratic primary to then-U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.
President Obama says of Specter’s passing, “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.”
Vice President Biden adds, “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.”
And former President George W. Bush says, “Arlen Specter loved our country and served it with integrity for three
decades in the United States Senate. Laura and I appreciate his
contributions to America and are grateful for his many years of public
Specter’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Penn Valley, Pa. He is survived by wife Joan, sons Shanin and Steve, and four granddaughters.