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John Erlenborn, R.I.P.

The conservative who was the premier Republican point man against liberal legislation in the House Education and Labor Committee after succeeding the late Rep. (1960-82) John Ashbrook (R.-Ohio) as ranking minority member died October 30. Former Rep. John Erlenborn, who represented the DuPage County (Illinois) area in Congress from 1964-84, died at his Warrenton, Va., home after a long bout with a neurological disorder.

A graduate of Notre Dame, Chicago native Erlenborn served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Following his discharge he earned a law degree from Loyola University and served a stint as an assistant state’s attorney in DuPage. After serving in the Illinois House from 1956-64, Erlenborn won an open U.S. House district in 1964.

The Almanac of American Politics in 1984 best characterized his service on the Education and Labor Committee: “The committee’s Democratic majority is solidly pro-organized labor and Erlenborn’s chances of gaining a working majority are slim, short of a Republican takeover of the House. Yet Erlenborn has had his successes on the floor. The common situs picketing and labor law reform bills the AFL-CIO hoped to pass during the Carter Administration were killed instead, and do not seem likely to be resurrected soon. Education and Labor’s Democrats have had to fight rearguard battles, to protect programs they passed 12 or 20 years ago; Republicans like Erlenborn in the early 1980’s have been on the offensive intellectually and politically.”

For his efforts on the committee, the Illinois lawmaker was strongly boomed by conservatives for secretary of labor after Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980. But, as Ed Meese and other in the Californian’s transition team noted, Reagan was adamant about one person in particular to hold the labor portfolio in his Cabinet, New Jerseyan and vigorous Reagan fund-raiser Raymond Donovan.

Erlenborn, who later served as president of the Legal Services Corp., was 78.

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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