Former Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, who represented Bucks County in Congress for four terms, passed away Monday at 56.
His death was confirmed by the office of his brother, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, the incumbent of the district he represented.
A native of Levittown and one of ten children, Fitzpatrick was known as a principled Republican who was never afraid to work across party lines. He maintained high approval ratings during his tenure representing what was then PA’s 8th congressional district. (RELATED: Rep. John Lewis Diagnosed With Stage IV Cancer)
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick served our commonwealth and country with great integrity, competence, and dignity. During his time as a Bucks County Commissioner, and then as a member of Congress, Mike proved time and again that it is possible to work across the aisle…
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) January 6, 2020
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick served our Commonwealth with distinction, demonstrating countless times his willingness to reach across the aisle and put people before politics. Sending my deepest condolences to @RepBrianFitz and the entire Fitzpatrick family.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) January 6, 2020
After serving as county commissioner for nearly a decade, Fitzpatrick was first elected to Congress in 2004 and represented the 8th district from 2005-2007, before losing his seat to Patrick Murphy in the 2006 Democratic wave. He then won back the seat in the 2010 Tea Party wave and held it from 2011-2017. Citing his belief in term limits, he declined to run for re-election in 2016.
In Congress, he was instrumental on issues such as medical device safety, abortion, banking reform, and chaired a committee that passed legislation to address terrorism financing. He supported Republican priorities to repeal the Affordable Care Act, lower taxes, and backed GOP budgets that called for steep spending cuts, but also broke from the party line to end repeated fiscal standoffs with the Obama Administration and pass an aid package after Superstorm Sandy.
His “legacy” achievement was opening the Washington Crossing National Cemetery in his district.
Fitzpatrick was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008. He went into remission in 2010 when he ran for Congress, but underwent surgery after a cancer screening in 2016. Those who knew him say that his battles with cancer had continued until his passing.
“He exemplifies the kind of public servant that was in it for the right reasons and, in time, his legacy will be appreciated more and more,” said former Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan.
Former Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, who beat Fitzpatrick in 2006 and lost to him in 2010, said “Our nation lost a true patriot. Mike Fitzpatrick was a champion for our beloved Bucks County. No one worked harder than Mike.”
He is survived by his wife Kathleen and their six children.