Former Sen. Harris Wofford Dies at 92

Former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford (D-PA) died late last night at the age of 92 of complications from a fall in his apartment, his son, Daniel Wofford said to the AP.

Wofford, a civil rights activist, joined the Senate in 1991 after being appointed to fill the vacancy created by the death of Sen. John Heinz (R-PA). Wofford pulled an upset victory in a special election to complete this term over former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, but lost his re-election bid in 1994 to Republican Rick Santorum.

Wofford served in President John F. Kennedy’s administration as a special assistant for civil rights and became the first CEO of the Corporation for National Service, or AmeriCorps, under President Bill Clinton.

Both Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey shared their condolences through social media.

“Harris Wofford was a champion of justice and a man of uncommon courage who dedicated his life to service. From his work on the Civil Rights Commission in the 1950s to his work as Special Assistant to President Kennedy for Civil Rights and through his friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, few Americans are more responsible for advancing the cause of civil rights than Harris Wofford,” Casey said in a statement.

“Senator Harris Wofford served his country honorably in the armed forces, as a member of Congress, and as a civil rights leader. My condolences go out to Senator Wofford’s family and friends,” Toomey said on Facebook.

Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered the Commonwealth flag at all public buildings throughout the state to fly at half-staff to honor his passing.

9 Responses

  1. Harris Wofford was a class act on every level. A distinguished academic, a civil rights activist, a great U.S. senator, he exuded dignity and honor in every way. At a time when the politics of the country has degraded and the people who are elected are often intellectually, morally, and culturally deficient, Wofford showed that people could stand for the common people and still be above the trash in the country.

    To have lost to a snake like Santorum had to hurt. He is the antithesis of dignity and honor, a slime-ball extraordinaire. However, he handled the loss with dignity and grace. RIP Harris Wofford, a JFK supporter from day one.

  2. The Senator Wofford story in getting to the Senate is a reminder of how difficult it is for a Dem to win a Senate seat. And also a reminder of how unlikely it is for Dems to want Sen Casey to go to the cabinet of a furture Pres or VP. If Wofford was the first Dem since Joe Clark in 1969 to win a Sen seat and Bob Casey, Jr the next Dem to win, it seems unlikely that there would be feverish interest on Dems part to see Casey leave the Senate for VP or cabinet.

  3. Senator Wofford really gave strength to the Democratic Party in Pa in terms of the Senate because he beat Dick Thornburgh to fill out the tenure of former Sen. John Heinz. Wofford, as I recall, was the first Dem since Joe Clark to hold a US Senate seat (from 1969 when Clark left office to 1991 when Wofford came on the scene). By the way, balance issues are really serious matters as we age and it’s unfortunate how impactful a fall can be. RIP Senator Wofford.

  4. I liked Sen. Wofford –He was a good human being. When my daughter was in high school , she had an assignment in POD class to interview an elected official at any level of government. I suggested she send Sen. Wofford a letter amongst other elected officials at the state and local level. To our surprise she received a phone call from the Senator while he was at an airport waiting for a flight . Senator Wofford spent about a half an hour interviewing with my daughter. Very grateful for his kindness—Prayers may he RIP.

  5. So in case you think Trump was the first time that PA voters lost their minds and committed to ignorance and evil, let this sink in: They voted for Rick Santorum over Harris Wofford.

    1. I hear Santorum – the mixture of lube and feces that is sometimes a side result of anal intercourse.

  6. I’m sorry for the loss today and I do offer my condolences to Former Pennsylvania’s US Senator Harris Wofford’s family.

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