Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On the Passing of National Common Cause President Bob Edgar

Tuesday - April 23, 2013

BOB EDGAR 1943-2013

The sudden passing this morning of Bob Edgar comes as a shock to all of us and saddens us. He was just shy of celebrating his 70th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary with his beloved wife, Merle. On behalf of the State Governing Board of Common Cause in Wisconsin and our more than 2,500 members in the state, I extend our sympathy and sorrow to Merle and to his family and loved ones and to all who knew him and were touched by him.

Bob was in Wisconsin less than two weeks ago and spent a very busy and energetic 24 hours doing interviews and talking to citizens about the challenges that we have to confront in order to reclaim our country. He was optimistic about our chances in the current fight for democracy, for fairness, and for equal opportunity. Bob was a dedicated and committed President and leader of national Common Cause, an exemplary public servant, and a loving father, grandfather and husband. He was just a good man.

The editor of The Capital Times, Paul Fanlund, interviewed Bob on April 12th and this profile really captured, I think, the essence of the man.

On a personal note, I first met Bob Edgar 31 years ago when he was a U.S. Representative from the 7th Congressional District of Pennsylvania and had been since 1975. I was working on the political campaign of a candidate for Congress from the adjoining district, Peter Kostmayer. Bob was more than happy to help, despite facing a tough re-election himself. Both Bob and Peter won and served in the U.S. House together until Bob ran for the U.S. Senate, unsuccessfully, in 1986. He was a fearless political warrior in victory and in defeat.

Twenty one years later I got a call from Bob telling me he was hoping to be President of Common Cause and he asked me for my support. Since then he has done a tremendous job. He brought energy and vitality to the organization and did much to save it from financial ruin. In 2008, he came to Wisconsin to help us celebrate two of our great reform leaders and prominent figures in Common Cause in this state -- former Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Earl and former Republican strategist and current CC/WI Chair Bill Kraus. A teetotalling Methodist Minister, Bob Edgar even had a beer with us -- understanding how important that was to do in Wisconsin.

He was back here briefly, two weeks ago and as I dropped him off at the Dane County Airport I told him I hoped he could come back soon and next time spend longer than 24 hours here and maybe do so when the weather was a bit warmer. He smiled and said "gladly."

That won't happen now. And Wisconsin and the nation will miss him.

Farewell, Bob.


Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703


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