By most accounts, John Murtha was considered a Conservative Democrat. Some of his positions put him at odds with the current healthcare reform legislation, yet he believed strongly in health care reform, and voted for it. His proposal for Tort Reform made him one of the few Democrats willing to stand up for this necessary aspect of Health Care reform. While opposed to abortion, he was in favor of stem cell research. A complex man of considered positions, Murtha was not afraid to be outspoken. It was not uncommon for Representative Murtha to “reach across the aisle,” including his efforts to forbid abusive treatment of terror suspects; a bill written by Senator John McCain, (R, AZ).

A combat veteran of the Vietnam war, this old warrior passed on of complications from a gallbladder surgery on Feb. 8, 2010, at the age of 77. His voice was sincere, passionate and compassionate. A true Conservative, he believed the government should not restrict people’s activities, so long as those actions don’t restrict the rights of others. He was a powerful voice in the House through his many years of service, and leaves his House seat vacant.

Phone calls to the Governor’s office for the State of Pennsylvania revealed only that they were not yet sure how his successor would be determined. The state’s Constitution generally leans towards replacing lost members by election. His vacant seat is on of the factors changing the face and balance of Congress and the future of Health Care Reform legislation.