Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Major Loss

Although I never got close to him during my semester as his intern in early 1989 -- he was the most intimidating man I'd ever met up until that point -- all you have to do is read a bit of his obituary to realize he was everything a U.S. representative should be:
Mr. Owens was first elected to the House in 1982 and boasted of his progressive voting record at a time when passionate liberals often found themselves on the fringes of power. He championed universal health care, education funding and minimum-wage legislation and fought to repeal gun rights, even publicly voicing his support to eliminate the Second Amendment because of the increased gun violence in schools. “I’m all alone on this one,” he once said. It was not the first or last time he found himself without overwhelming support. Song became “an outlet for political frustrations,” he said. He used the well of the House to criticize state and city officials for using eminent domain to transfer property from one landowner to another, at what he considered the expense of the working poor.
He represented some of the poorest sections of Brooklyn and I was from ultra-conservative Arizona, so the coordinator of the Sears Congressional Internship program thought it would be an eye-opener for me to work in Congressman Owens' office. Little did they realize I was already a lefty New York City wannabe, and being in his office only reinforced everything I had been working toward. My condolences to his wife, Maria, who was always very kind to me, and the rest of his family, including son Geoffrey, who played son-in-law Elvin on "The Cosby Show" while I was there..We need more people in Congress like Mr. Owens.

1 comment:

dishy said...

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