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Mullane: Mike Fitzpatrick, the man, not the myth or legend

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“This is Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick,” the dockworker said. “The congressman’s from Levittown. He’s a Levittown guy, he’s one of us, so he’s normal.”

There are probably as many stories about Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, the man, myth and legend, as there are leprechauns in Ireland.

Those stories will be told over the next few days in places from Springtown to Levittown, the latter where Mike grew up and never left. He died early Monday on the Feast of the Epiphany, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, if you’re counting — too young at 56.

The legend of Mike Fitzpatrick is that as a Bucks County commissioner he pulled off the impossible — convincing a Republican stronghold to raise taxes to secure millions of dollars to purchase and preserve 10,000 acres of farmland and open space. It was more complicated than that, especially since Lower Bucks took a bath on the deal, given that there wasn’t a lot of open space to save, but would foot most of the bill.

The myth of Mike Fitzpatrick is that he was a conservative Republican. Republican, yes. Conservative, not really. He was proudly a “No Labels” guy, a member of the “Problem Solvers Caucus,” and he never introduced legislation in D.C. that didn’t have a Democrat co-sponsor. Squishy RINO? Sometimes, yeah. That’s politics. But not on matters of life. As a Catholic and father of six, he was pro-life to the core.

Now the stories........

© The Intelligencer