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Former colleagues honor Ralph Regula on House of Representatives floor

By Sabrina Eaton • Jul 27, 2017 at 10:06 AM

WASHINGTON, D. C. — They remembered his red pickup truck and his love of farming. They remembered his crusade to keep former President William McKinley's name on North America's tallest mountain. They remembered the countless dollars he directed to projects throughout Northeast Ohio.

But most of all, Ohio members of Congress remembered Ralph Regula as a gentleman.

During a series of speeches on the House of Representatives floor to honor the former Navarre congressman who died last week at age 92, Regula's former colleagues shared their recollections of his 36 years in Congress.

Holmes County GOP Rep. Bob Gibbs — a farmer like Regula — recalled meeting the congressman at agricultural events, and how he went out of his way to help the people he served, from getting them passports in emergencies to filling his pickup truck with luggage of constituents stranded in Washington after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and personally driving it back to Ohio.

"Ralph Regula really did care about the constituents he represented," Gibbs said. "He was a true public servant."

Columbus-area Republican Pat Tiberi recalled the wisdom Regula dispensed to younger congress members as the longest-serving member of the Ohio delegation, and his work to ensure that the state was represented on all congressional committees.

"He knew how to get things done and he did it in a bipartisan way and he did it with his constituents in mind and he did it because it was the right thing to do," said Tiberi.

Bowling Green Republican Rep. Bob Latta - whose father, Delbert Latta, was a longtime congressman from Northwest Ohio - recalled meeting Regula while hanging out with his father. He called Regula a true public servant, who unstintingly gave to the people he represented.

"We've lost a great, friend, a great colleague," Latta said. "It's tough to say goodbye."

Cincinnati GOP Rep. Steve Chabot called Regula "soft-spoken" and an "old school gentleman" who believed bipartisanship was a virtue and worked tirelessly to find common ground.

"Ralph always treated everyone with respect and genuinely listened to the viewpoints of others," said Chabot.

Toledo-area Democrat Marcy Kaptur, who served on the House Appropriations Committee with Regula for several decades. catalogued many of the Ohio projects he founded and funded - from Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the First Ladies National Historic Site.

She described him as a cross between Andy Griffith and Robert Redford.

"Ralph Regula was the type of citizen who holds this republic together," said Kaptur. "He was a moral compass in an era of personal enrichment. Ralph is remembered as a hard-working, constructive, affable, intelligent and effective member and he set a very high standard "

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