Former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert Dies [Photo Gallery]
Central New York lost a "class act" this week. Former U.S. Representative Sherwood Boehlert passed away at the age of 84.
Boehlert served 12 terms in Congress before retiring in 2006. A moderate Republican, he became an influential member of Congress, playing a central role in debates on environmental, science and national security policy. Congressional Quarterly named him one of the 50 most effective lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
During his tenure in Washington, Boehlert served on several influential committees including the House Science Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Select Committee on Intelligence, among others.
"He lived by a now-relic-notion that put people over party," said former Congressman Anthony Brindisi. "He was a bipartisan leader and achieved much because of that mantra. Years later, when I was elected to Congress, I worked to be a similar kind of representative for our area—largely due to his example," Brindisi said.
Boehlert served in the U.S. Army and graduated from Utica College. After a brief stint in public relations, he went to work for Utica's then-Congressman, Alexander Pirnie and eventually became his Chief of Staff, a role he also held for Pirnie's successor, Donald J. Mitchell. In 1979, Boehlert was elected Oneida County Executive, serving until he successfully ran for Congress in 1982 to succeed Mitchell.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said he was deeply saddened by the passing of his long-time friend. "Sherry was the epitome of what an elected official should be: dedicated, hardworking, effective and always willing to reach a hand across the aisle. During his long and distinguished congressional career he fought hard for the people of Oneida County, always giving us a strong voice with an emphasis on issues of science, technology and the environment. I was privileged to have worked on his first campaign for Oneida County Executive in 1979 and I owe much of my own career to his guidance," said Picente.
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