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Former U.S. REP Pete Stark, an outspoken progressive California Democrat, was an anti-war activist, died at his home in Maryland on Friday at the age of 88, his family said.
During his 40-year career, Strong leaving a lasting impact on the health care, the creation of COBRA, which allows people to always have health insurance for a period of time after leaving a job, and he helped draft the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“Today, America has lost a champion of the people and to the leaders of great integrity, courage and compassion,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “Congressman Pete Stark was a master of the legislator, who used to give his Hammer, a voice for the voiceless, and he will be sorely missed by the Congress, Californians and all Americans.”
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Strong criticism from Republicans over the years, drew-not only for his political stands but also for some of his comments. He once called former U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn., “a whore for the insurance industry”, the acquired information through “pillow talk”, and claimed once-a-GOP-lawmakers approved sending US troops into Iraq could, in order to “blown their minds, for the president’s amusement,” Politico reported.
His career began as a banker, where he was a free childcare service for its employees before running for Congress in the area of San Francisco East Bay in 1972.
“Pete Stark, the East Bay decades in public service as a voice in Congress for working people,” U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who won, Strong is the seat of the year in 2012, tweeted. “His knowledge of policy, especially health, & his opposition to unnecessary wars demonstrated his care and the spirit. Our community mourns his loss.”
“Pete Stark is a giant,” Rep. Ro Khanna was tweeted, who represents California in the vicinity of 17th constituency. “He was in the wars against Vietnam and Iraq. He was for single payer before it was popular. He was a friend and mentor and helped build the progressive movement, even if it was lonely.”
Strong is also remembered for his “permanent” work for LGBTQ rights, the promotion of children and paid leave the family.
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He is survived by his wife, Deborah Roderick Stark, seven children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, reports The chronicle.