Recognizing the Passing of Former Rep. Herbert Harrisby Representative Gerald E. Connolly
Posted on 2015-01-07
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Mr. CONNOLLY. Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise with
the members of the Virginia delegation to inform our colleagues of the
passing of a former Member of this Chamber, Herbert Harris.
Herb died at the age of 88 on Christmas Eve at his home in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Fairfax County.
He served three terms in the House from 1974 to 1980, representing what was then Virginia's 8th District.
Like his predecessor, Stan Parris, my predecessor, Tom Davis, and me, Herb served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors prior to his election to Congress, and that experience served him well here. He was a champion for the region, helping secure the necessary federal funds to complete construction of the Metro system and to expand the Manassas National Battlefield Park.
He stood out as an outspoken liberal at a time when most of Virginia, even Northern Virginia, was still largely conservative. During his tenure on the Fairfax County Board, he fought for community infrastructure investments, particularly for transportation and sewer system modernization. He also helped with Inova Health System's expansion to Mount Vernon. It was during these years that he served on regional transportation boards, including the Metro Board of Directors, and became one of its chief regional advocates.
Upon his election to Congress, he pushed to secure the necessary federal funds to complete the regional Metro system, and he was an early proponent for expanding the system further into Virginia to reach Dulles International Airport and other communities. A veteran of the Navy, Herb fought the Carter Administration on proposed cuts in national defense and military pay. And based on his experience in local government, he became an advocate for granting full voting representation in the House for the District of Columbia. After narrowly losing his bid for re-election in 1980 and then a rematch in 1982, Herb put his political career aside, telling one confidant that the time required by today's Members to raise campaign funds put too much emphasis on chasing money rather than exchanging ideas.
He returned to private law practice after leaving the House.
Our former colleagues, Representatives Moran, Davis, and Wolf collaborated in 2001 to name a new Post Office building in the Mount Vernon area to honor Herb's service.
Many of us attended funeral services for Herb yesterday, and flags were flown at half-mast at the Fairfax Government Center and the capitol in Richmond.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join us in extending our gratitude for his public service and sympathy on his passing to Herb's family and friends by standing with us to observe a moment of silence.
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