Former Bay Area Congressman Paul 'Pete' McCloskey dead at 96

 May 9, 2024

Veteran lawmakers were shocked to learn of the death of a popular California Republican this week. 

According to CBS News, former Bay Area Congressman Paul "Pete" McCloskey, a pro-environment Republican, died after a battle with congestive heart failure.

The former lawmaker's death was confirmed by family spokesman Lee Houskeeper to CBS News and other outlets.

He died at his Winters, California home and was reportedly 96 at the time of his passing.

A "maverick"

CBS News described McCloskey as a "maverick" Republican, noting that in 1970, he helped co-found Earth Day and also contributed to writing the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

It was also noted that the Bay area lawmaker, described as a "liberal Republican" and a "fiscal conservative," supported abortion rights and stem cell research.

CBS News noted his background:

Born in Loma Linda, McCloskey earned a law degree at Stanford in 1953. He was a deputy D.A. in Alameda County.

He served in the military from 1945 to 1974, in the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. When he retired from the Marine Corps Reserves, McCloskey had achieved the rank of colonel.

McCloskey, a long-serving member of the Armed Forces, won several prestigious military honors, including "the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism, the Silver Star for bravery in combat, and two Purple Hearts as a Marine during the Korean War."

Notably, he was the first congressman to use his platform to come out against the Vietnam War, and he was also the first to call for Richard Nixon's impeachment.

Tributes pour in

Given his legacy and accomplishments, tributes poured in across social media, with many noting his long list of achievements both militarily and politically, as well as his environmental activism.

"By co-authoring the Endangered Species Act, Congressman Pete McCloskey made one of the single biggest contributions to wildlife conservation in American history," said Kierán Sucking, head of the Center for Biological Diversity

Rick Wiles wrote on X, "A great American patriot left us today. Korean War hero. Pro-peace congressman. 1972 Republican presidential candidate. Co-founder of Earth Day. My hero Pete McCloskey. We will miss you Colonel Pete!"

"It is a high honor to represent the congressional district once held by Pete McCloskey and a privilege to call him my friend, role model, and mentor," Rep. Anna Eshoo wrote on X

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