January 3, 2005

LONG ROAD:

Robert Matsui, former war internee and congressman, dies at 63 (Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press, 1/03/04)

Rep. Robert Matsui, D-Calif., a World War II internee who rose to become one of the top Asian Americans in Congress during 26 years of service, died Saturday, his office announced yesterday. He was 63.

One of his party's leading spokesmen on tax and Social Security issues, Rep. Matsui was hospitalized at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Dec. 24, suffering from pneumonia. His office said he had been diagnosed several months ago with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare bone-marrow disease.

Rep. Matsui, a senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, was expected to be one of his party's leaders in the battle anticipated in Congress this year over President Bush's proposal to overhaul Social Security. [...]

Rep. Matsui generally backed Democratic legislation, but his support for global trade put him at odds with members of his party on some high-profile measures.

He was re-elected with ease to his 14th term in November. A special election is expected to be called to choose a successor.

Rep. Matsui was remembered yesterday as a skilled legislator and political strategist.

Bush said Rep. Matsui "served with distinction and integrity" and "was a leader of his party admired by colleagues on both sides of the aisle."

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 3, 2005 8:13 AM
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