From Gold Star Moms to Health Reform: John Adler’s Legacy of Service

I had the opportunity to attend funeral services this week for former Congressman John Adler. They were incredibly moving. So many words have been spoken and written about him in the past week. The temple was packed with more than 1,000 people, many standing in the back. I sat next to a Gold Star Mom who had lost a child in service to our country. She told me how Mr. Adler had spearheaded legislation to help honor Gold Star Moms, and how much it meant to her and how accessible he was. Everyone in the room had been touched by him in some way.

I personally have nothing but fond memories of John Alder. I often worked with him while he was a state senator. I agree wholeheartedly with whoever it was who said Mr. Adler could disagree without being disagreeable. I remember approaching him on medical malpractice reform when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he listened intently, thoughtfully and respectfully, even though he didn’t agree with the position I was taking. When I was younger, I actually ran for and won a seat on my local town council. John Adler contributed to my campaign when he found out I was running. I was so honored.

Just this past summer, Mr. Adler was holding Town Hall meetings in his district on national healthcare reform. He invited me to be a panelist at such a function – again, a real honor. You might recall that some of those district meetings on healthcare reform attracted a highly charged crowd. When I got to the session, the room was packed with well over 100 people, and when the Congressman asked those who had questions to line up on one side of the room, it seemed to me that half the room stood up. The crowd was a little raucous that day, but Mr. Adler handled the questions with grace, wit and the astuteness of a great mind.

He will be missed by so many, including me.

Written by Betsy Ryan at 19:21

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