Former Congressman Bob Edgar, who served the 7th district for six terms and later went on to lead one of the nation’s top government reform organizations, has died. He was 69.
He passed away unexpectedly in his home Tuesday morning.
“We are deeply saddened and shaken today by the passing of Bob Edgar,” said Common Cause Board Chair Robert Reich in a statement. “Bob will be remembered for his decency, kindness, compassion and humor. His deep commitment to social justice and strengthening our democracy is his greatest gift to Common Cause and the nation. Our hearts are with Bob’s family, his wife Merle, and sons Andrew, David and Rob, and their families.”
Edgar was a Methodist minister and when elected during the post-Watergate wave of 1974 became the first Democrat to hold the 7th district in 36 years. He left the seat to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in 1986.
One media report indicates Edgar died as a result of a heart attack he suffered while exercising.
After his tenure in Congress, Edgar served 10 years as President of Claremont School of Theology in California. He went on to lead the National Council of Churches, a sizable ecumenical group that advocates for progressive social policies and has particular focus on eliminating poverty.
In 2007, he took the reins of Common Cause which is one of the largest government reform organizations in the country. He was president and CEO. The group describes itself as “a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political process.”
Edgar is survived by his wife, three sons, and grandchildren.