Rep. John Lewis: Leahy, Sanders, Welch react to the death of civil rights leader

Members of Vermont’s congressional delegation — Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Rep. Peter Welch — lauded civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, after his death Friday

From left, Marcelle Leahy, Rep. John Lewis and Sen. Patrick Leahy backstage at the Flynn Center in Burlington on Oct. 7, 2019. Leahy had introduced Rep. Lewis when he spoke at the even.

Leahy, through his office, issued a statement calling  Lewis “an American hero.”

John Lewis was an American hero among us, a lodestar who drew us closer to our ideals. He was a dear friend and mentor to me on civil rights and so much else.

I felt honored when he called me his brother and when he came to Vermont last year for a night at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington that none of us will forget.  Our work together on the bill to restore the Voting Rights Act that I’ve introduced in the Senate, as John and others have done in the House, has also generated such profound and lifelong memories. 

This loss is felt so deeply by Marcelle and me and by so many in Vermont and across our nation.

APPRECIATION:For John Lewis, a lifetime of making ‘good trouble’ left scars and a legacy

Sanders in a Twitter post said Lewis “inspired millions to fight for justice.”

Welch posted on Facebook a photograph of himself and Lewis seated on the floor of the House chamber during the June 2016 sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House in a fight over gun control legislation, saying the Georgia Democrat “inspired a nation to make “good trouble” for the unending pursuit of racial and social justice.” 

Aki Soga is engagement and insights editor for the Burlington Free Press. Email him at asoga@freepressmedia.com,  or chat with him on Twitter: @asoga

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