Reaction pouring in to the news Ralph Regula died at the age of 92.
The Navarre native was a 36-year veteran of Congress before he retired in 2009, leaving behind a legacy worth hundreds of millions of dollars through his influence as a leading member of the House Appropriations Committee. The Republican Regula and Akron Democrat colleague John Seiberling proved to be a powerful combination in the creation of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area in the 70s, now standing as one of the most-visited sites in the country as the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Regula and his wife Mary were also untiring advocates for the legacy of Canton's President William McKinley, even to the point of calling then-President Barack Obama a "dictator" for changing the name of Mount McKinkley National Park to Denali National Park to recognize native names for America's highest peak in Alaska.
Regula was known best as a political moderate who fought for social programs as well as fiscally-conservative policies, and was unafraid to reach across the aisle to seek agreement with opponents. Among those reacting is Attorney General Mike DeWine, who served in Congress with Regula, who called him a "model of a dedicated public servant" who even preferred to be called a "representative to Congress" rather than Congressman.
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(U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown) "Without Ralph, there would be no Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Without Ralph and Mary, there would be no First Ladies Historic Site in Canton. Those are just two bookends on an incredible life dedicated to public service. "Ralph was kind, effective, and always delivered for Ohio. I knew him well after our 15 years serving together, and loved every opportunity to see him. With his vote against NAFTA and so many others, Ralph put the working people of Ohio ahead of Washington politics. "Connie and I send our deepest condolences to Mary and their family. He'll be missed."
(U.S. Senator Rob Portman) "I was so sorry to hear of Ralph Regula's passing. What a great American. I am, today, offering my condolences to Mary and his entire family. Ralph Regula was small in stature but a giant of a man. An amazing public servant, he served in the United States Navy, and then he served in the United States House of Representatives for three decades. He loved Ohio, and he loved his hometown Nevarre, Ohio. He was a great champion for education. That was one his real passions. He and Mary both were tireless in their advocacy that everyone have the opportunity to get ahead through a good education. We're going to miss Ralph. He leaves a big void in Northeast Ohio—and our state and our country—and we offer our condolences to the family and hope that Ralph Regula's model of legislating—working on both sides of the aisle and getting things done—will be something that others can emulate."
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(Secretary of State Jon Husted) “With the passing of Ralph Regula, Ohio has lost a devoted public servant and leader. From his days at the Ohio Statehouse to his many years on Capitol Hill, Ralph set a standard for service and dignity that we should all aspire to achieve. In addition to being a model public servant, he was also a devoted husband and father. Tina and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family at this time.”
(State Auditor Dave Yost) “Ralph Regula was a true public servant, a man who put community above self. For 36 years, Ralph worked tirelessly in Congress to build relationships, forge consensus and break through bureaucracy to improve lives. His advocacy for Ohio was legend. Darlene and I extend our condolences to the Regula family.”
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(Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine) "Fran and I extend our deepest sympathy to Mary Regula, and to the children and grandchildren of former Congressman Ralph Regula. "Ralph was the model of a dedicated public servant. Instead of being called a Congressman, he preferred the term ‘representative to Congress.’ And throughout his 36 years in the U.S. House, he represented the people of Stark County and northeast Ohio incredibly well."His sense of public stewardship is reflected in the many projects he worked on including the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, the University of Mount Union and Stark State College."He and his wife, Mary, were the driving forces behind the National First Ladies Library in Canton, which honors the contributions of America’s First Ladies."With his senior position on the Appropriations Committee, and his role as the ‘Dean’ of the Ohio Delegation to Congress, he was a very effective advocate for our great state. There were many times I would go to him to ask for help on matters impacting other parts of Ohio and he always fought for them."Ralph Regula never forgot where he came from, and loved to return to his farm in Stark County. "Fran and I will miss our friend, but know that his legacy will live on through his family and the many public projects he was a part of."