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United States Senator John S. McCain III (UNITED STATES SENATE PHOTO)

New Jersey mourns John McCain

By David Wildstein, August 25 2018 11:14 pm

New Jersey political leaders from both parties are mourning the death of John McCain, an American hero who spent 36 years in Congress and was the Republican nominee for President in 2008:

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez: “I’m deeply saddened by the passing of my friend, colleague and American hero Senator John McCain. When I first came to the Senate, John was there to guide me, and one thing I quickly learned from him was that the Senate works better when we strive to put patriotism above partisanship. He was a man of principle and it was an honor to work with him on an array of legislative issues including immigration reform, foreign policy and national security. There will never be another Senator John McCain, but there’s no question in my mind that his legacy in the United States Senate will last for generations. I am keeping Cindy and the entire McCain family in my prayers through this difficult time.”

U.S. Senator Cory Booker: “John McCain so warmly welcomed me to the Senate in ‘13. Our later private meeting in his office remains 1 of my most inspiring moments as a Senator. Death may end a life but it can never end a love. John Loved America: his impact will forever endure.”

Governor Phil Murphy: “During my time as Ambassador to Germany, I had the distinct pleasure of getting to know Senator John McCain well. He understood the importance of a strong American presence in the world, especially in maintaining our Transatlantic partnerships. In the Senate, he embodied the very American notion that we could disagree without losing our commonality, that we could compromise on policy without abandoning our principles — something that is rapidly becoming in short supply. Tammy and I send our deepest condolences to Cindy and the entire McCain family. Our nation has lost a hero and a guiding light.”

Rep. Albio Sires (D-West New York):  “I am saddened to hear about the passing of U.S Senator John McCain this evening. The residents of Arizona and the Nation have lost a great leader. My sympathies go out to his wife Cindy and their children during this difficult time. Senator McCain was a champion for human rights and believed that everyone should have the chance to realize their potential to the fullest.  The Senator served his country in the U.S Navy with great distinction during the Vietnam War. Johns ability to work with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle is why his legacy will live on for many generations to come.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson):  “We have lost a true American patriot. We will miss him and I send my condolences to his family and to his colleagues in the United States Senate. With great courage, John McCain protected the institution of the Senate at a time when our institutions are under duress. I will never forget Senate McCain standing in defense of Barack Obama from scurrilous attacks during the 2008 campaign. His response to vicious slanders against his opponent were not the answers of a cynical political, but of a human being. To me, this was his personification: scrupulously honest and true. I was honored to work closely with Senator McCain to pass legislation to aid our firefighters. I saw up close that here was a special man. Senator McCain served his country for virtually his entire life, right until the end. God bless you, Senator McCain. And thank you.”

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton): “One of our country’s greatest citizens, John McCain devoted his life to the Nation, first as a Naval Aviator and then as a member of the House of Representatives and for more than three decades a United States Senator.  His heroism as a prisoner of war, his tenacity in the halls of Congress and his courageous campaigns for President are all testaments to his magnificent service to the United States.   I was privileged to run on the same ticket with Senator McCain in 2008 and believe he would have been an excellent President. At his passing we are reminded of the Naval Hymn’s humble prayer that all who serve in peril on the sea or in the air might be brought safely home again by our Eternal Father.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff): “Senator John McCain was a true American hero and patriot. Throughout his years of service, from the battle field to the halls of Congress, John McCain always put our country first. I am grateful for his work and for his powerful legacy to make America a more perfect union.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton): “

“Senator John McCain was an extraordinarily brave and noble man—a hero—a dedicated husband, father, fighter pilot, and an amazing lawmaker.  He endured and overcame unspeakable horrors as a POW,  and as a lawmaker never ceased working for members of our armed forces and veterans.   And on matters of principle and conviction, Senator McCain was fiercely independent, always willing—even eager—to bend into the wind and not with it. My wife Marie and I will always cherish and deeply respect the incomparable Senator John McCain.  Our prayers go out to Cindy, and to his entire family.”

Former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Tom Malinowski: “My heart goes out today to Cindy McCain, to all the members of John McCain’s family.  Our country has lost a leader who had a conscience and the courage to be guided by it.  I feel lucky to have known him.  I don’t know where we will be without him.  John McCain faced many tragedies and setbacks in his life, and I imagine that many people remembering him in the coming days will focus on those.  But he was also one of the most effective Congressional leaders of our time, from his efforts to curb corruption in our politics, to his stewardship of legislation confronting tyrants and human rights abusers, to his insistence on regular order in the Senate, to passing the law that outlawed torture.  I went to see him after he won the torture ban in 2005, mostly to look back and say thank you, and his first question was “what’s next?”  That’s why he experienced so many setbacks – when he saw a challenge at home or overseas, whether climate change or our broken immigration system or the uprisings of the Arab Spring, he never calculated the odds of success; he just tried to do what he thought was right.  And the more lost and honorable and lonely the cause, the more he wanted to get in the fight.  In 2012, after the United States had helped the Libyan people topple the Qadaffi regime, an effort he had championed, I told him that the new government there was imprisoning African migrants in brutal conditions.  So he got on a plane and confronted the problem himself.  I will always remember the incredible sight of John McCain going from cell to cell in a Libyan prison, with several other bemused Senators and terrified US embassy staff trailing behind him, hearing out the inmates and jabbing his finger in the chest of the warden demanding to know if he was torturing people.  In 2014, he said some kind words at my confirmation hearing to be an Assistant Secretary of State.  In reply, I recalled a scene that happened at the Boston Marathon bombing the year before.  Right after the bombs exploded, most of the people there ran away from the blast, but there were a few who ran in the opposite direction, straight for the fire and the smoke. They had no idea what they would find there or how much danger they were in; they just knew there were people there who needed help, and so they ran straight for the trouble.  That is how I will remember John McCain.  He was a man who ran straight at the hardest problems even when the risks were high and the rewards for himself very small. He was always brutally honest with himself.  He hated dogma and could change his mind when the facts and common decency demanded it.  As he had many occasions to say in the last year of his life, he insisted on a politics that seeks solutions to problems, not scapegoats.  We have never needed these qualities more in our leaders. We will honor him by trying to live up to his example.  We will help him rest in peace by fighting our hearts out for the country he loved and for the ideals that make it worth fighting for.”

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes: “John McCain was a political icon who was unorthodox yet party-loyal. He was a free-wheeler who will be remembered as a man who hoed his own row no matter the terrain, and reaped a bounty as a result of his grit.  He will be missed.”

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