‘A model of integrity’: How Pa. officials reacted to the death of ex-Gov. Richard Thornburgh

By: - December 31, 2020 6:24 pm

Former Gov. Richard Thornburgh

Former two-term Pennsylvania Gov. Richard Thornburgh, a Republican who saw the state through the emergency at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in 1979, died Thursday, aged 88.  Thornburgh later served as U.S. Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan.

Here is how Pennsylvania’s elected officials reacted to his death.

Gov. Tom Wolf: “Frances and I extend our deepest condolences to the Thornburgh family. Governor Dick Thornburgh was an unequaled public servant who devoted his life to caring for the people of our commonwealth and our nation.

“Governor Thornburgh served two terms as governor of Pennsylvania, and calm, grounded leadership was a hallmark of his governorship. He guided Pennsylvania through a tumultuous period in our commonwealth’s history following the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power station. His was a necessary and steady voice of calm in the midst of crisis.

“Governor Thornburgh also served in the United States Justice Department under five presidents, including three years as United States Attorney General. During his tenure, the office of the Attorney General used its power to advocate for the needs of vulnerable Americans and led the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.: “Terese and I were saddened to learn today of the passing of Dick Thornburgh, a former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Governor of Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney General, and friend. Our Commonwealth and our country are better for his distinguished service. Together with the entire Casey family, we send our deepest condolences to Ginny, his four sons, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.: “Governor Dick Thornburgh dedicated his professional life to public service. He led Pennsylvania and later, the Department of Justice successfully and with integrity. The steady nature in which he guided Pennsylvania through one of its most dangerous crises – the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island – should serve as an example for all elected officials. I extend my condolences to Governor Thornburgh’s wife, Ginny, and their entire family.”

Former Gov. Tom Ridge:

Former Gov. Mark S. Schweiker: “Gov. Thornburgh was a personal hero and a leader to emulate. His passion for public service and the people of his beloved Pennsylvania was still obvious long after he left office. In examining everything he did during the crisis at Three Mile Island, his leadership was thoughtful and strong at a time when the commonwealth needed it most. Kathy and I extend our prayers to Ginny and his entire family.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre: “Dick Thornburgh was an extraordinary man who dedicated his entire life to serving the public. As governor, he worked tirelessly with people like my father to make our Commonwealth a better place to live, providing a steady calm even in a time of crisis. His legacy of leadership has been a shining example for many including me. He was a man of character who led with decency and integrity who will be missed.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District:


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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.