PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A liberal Pennsylvania Republican who was the vice presidential candidate in Ronald Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 campaign has died. Former U.S. Sen. Richard S. Schweiker was 89.
Schweiker, of McLean, Virginia, died Friday at Atlantic Care Regional Medical Center in Pomona, New Jersey. That’s according to his son, Richard Schweiker Jr.
Schweiker said his father had just spent a week with family in Ocean City, New Jersey, where he saw all five of his children and their spouses, 21 of his 23 grandchildren and his one great- grandchild.
The elder Schweiker headed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the first two years of the Reagan administration.
Elected to the U.S. House in 1960 and the U.S. Senate in 1968, Schweiker was staunchly pro-labor and outspoken in his opposition to the Vietnam War.
Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason called Schweiker a dedicated public servant who always stood up for what he believed was right.
“Throughout his time in the House, Senate, and later the Department of Health and Human Services, Dick Schweiker served as an independent mind who put the needs of the Commonwealth and the country first,” Gleason said.