Today, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) issued the following statement on the passing of former Congressman Jerry Lewis, who served as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and represented the Inland Empire region in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 2013:
“Congressman Jerry Lewis is one of the most influential Californians to ever serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Jerry made an enormous impact on his district, the state of California and our nation throughout a life dedicated to public service.
Jerry first left his mark in the California legislature. In the Assembly, he began what would become a legacy of advocating for policies and programs to improve our air quality by leading the effort that established the South Coast Air Quality Management District in 1976.
After his election to the House of Representatives, Jerry continued to fight for resources to address the challenges in his district. Of the many causes he fought for, Jerry was especially proud of his work to improve the health care treatments at the Loma Linda University Medical Center and VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, spurring innovation in our national security, as well as supporting the University of California system – with a more than slight bias towards his alma mater of UCLA. He also secured the significant federal funding required to build Seven Oaks Dam, which provides critical flood protection for the Inland Empire region along the Santa Ana River. If Jerry was ever criticized, it was for delivering too much and too often for his district. Our country would be a far better place, if all of our public servants worked as tirelessly and effectively for the people they represented as Jerry Lewis did.
Jerry was my colleague, my mentor, and my friend. I’ll deeply miss his friendship, his counsel and his ever-present smile that provided a window into his eternally optimistic soul. My heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to Jerry’s beloved wife, Arlene, as well as his family, former staff members, and all who were fortunate enough to know him.”