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Congressman Kingston's statement on the passing of President Ronald Reagan America's 40th President

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Kingston's statement on the passing of President Ronald Reagan America's 40th President

passed away today at age 93

WASHINGTON, D.C. - While traveling with President Bush in France Saturday, Congressman Jack Kingston (R/GA-1) received the news that America's 40th President, Ronald Reagan, had died.

"I'm greatly saddened by the death of President Ronald Reagan. This affects people on a personal level because he was more than a leader. He had a fatherly presence. He was a kind and loveable conservative who never wavered in his philosophy. And he delivered it in a classic fatherly way with a kindness that even his harshest critics admired. He was a great communicator and leader that young people could look up to.

"He was elected during a time of high unemployment, high inflation and low patriotism. But with that twinkle in his eye and his strong belief in God and America, he turned the country around. People will remember the years of economic prosperity he created with tax cuts and job creation, but more than that, he gave us optimism and a belief in the American dream.

"I met Ronald Reagan when I was a young Republican in Savannah and it was so exciting to get a chance to see him. He just had a way to inspire you to work hard and do something positive for your country. He had charm, charisma, conviction and the power to communicate and he had the guts to use them all. When people told him not to antagonize the Soviet Union he still went out and declared, 'Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall.' Even if you were a died-in-the-wool liberal, you had to admire him for sticking to his guns time and time again. He rebuilt our military and made us strong again and he had a profound impact on the American political scene. So many people who were 'Reagan Democrats' in the 1980s are now Republicans and Independents.

"I had dinner with his son, Michael Reagan, just a few months ago and he said that his father was ready. He told me that the good news was that his dad had a very strong heart and body. The bad news was that his mind was no longer with him and that the time was drawing near.

"Ronald Reagan is an America institution so there is a great deal of sadness. Like many Americans, I feel like I have lost a loved one."

Congressman Kingston is in Normandy, France with President Bush, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and several veterans' organizations taking part in ceremonies commemorating the 60thanniversary of D-Day.

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