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Former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, 82, has died. Served South Shore, Cape and Islands
Former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, 82, has died. Served South Shore, Cape and Islands
Former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, 82, has died. Served South Shore, Cape and Islands

Published on: 03/31/2024

Description

William D. Delahunt, who served 39 years in elected office, including seven terms as representative of the 10th Congressional District, died at home in Quincy on Saturday. Delahunt took office in 1997 and retired 14 years later in 2011. The 82-year-old had health issues for some time, according to Mark Forest, his former chief of staff.

The 10th Congressional District, which no longer exists, covered parts of the South Shore and the Cape and Islands.

Delahunt was the fiancé of Julie Pagano of Quincy, father of Kirsten Delahunt and John Dunn of Dorchester, and Karen Delahunt Bobrov and Nickolai Bobrov of Milton; grandfather of Maya and Alex Bobrov; and former husband to Kati Delahunt of Hingham.

In a statement, Delahunt's family thanked everyone who has given "him, and our family, care and support" and acknowledged "all those who stood with him for so many years in his work towards making a difference in the community, throughout our country and world."

"While we mourn the loss of such a tremendous person, we also celebrate his remarkable life and his legacy of dedication, service and inspiration ... We could always turn to him for wisdom, solace and a laugh, and his absence leaves a gaping hole in our family and our hearts," reads the statement.

Delahunt was from Quincy.

In a statement released Saturday, U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Massachusetts, called Delahunt a champion for justice, whose work was focused on equality and compassion and helping people.

"Bill Delahunt understood the unlimited capacity of the human heart to love and nurture," Markey wrote. "The Commonwealth and the country are better for Bill Delahunt’s vision and service. My deepest condolences go out to his family, his loved ones, and all those whose lives he touched.”

Forest, who served as Delahunt's district director for Cape Cod and the Islands when he took office, said the congressman's first job was making sure the Cape and Islands knew he would fight for them in Washington. He came into office after Gerry Studds retired from a 24-year term. People from the Cape were cautious about a mainlander representing them in Washington, Forest said. A Cape Cod tie became a standard part of his wardrobe.

"You could always pick him out on the floor of the House," Forest said. "He loved the Cape. People knew who he worked for and who he advocated for. People knew where his passion was."

Opinion piece on Delahunt: Advocate of bipartisanship, opponent of Iraq war, patient lawmaker

Forest called Delahunt a talented leader who always tried to find consensus, bipartisanship, and collaboration with all of his colleagues.

Delahunt brought new energy to the Otis-Camp Edwards cleanup, including the preservation of 15,000 acres at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, Forest said. He was determined to secure the funding for the cleanup.

He was a champion of the Cape Cod Land Bank, which had strong opposition from real estate agents and associations. Delahunt came up with a plan everyone could agree on, Forest said. The Cape Cod Land Bank was enacted into law and as a result, thousands of acres were preserved. What's more, the law served as a precursor to the Community Preservation Act.

Delahunt helped craft and pass legislation that protects children in international adoption cases and provides paths to citizenship.

"He was a champion," Forest said.

Denise Coffey writes about business, tourism and issues impacting the Cape’s residents and visitors. Contact her at [email protected]  

Reporter Zane Razzaq contributed to this story.

The Cape Cod Times is providing this coverage for free as a public service. Please take a moment to support local journalism by subscribing. 

News Source : https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/politics/2024/03/30/william-delahunt-congress-1997-2010-quincy-cape-cod-gerry-studds-10th-congressional/73157526007/

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