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Former GOP Rep. Sherwood Boehlert dies at 84


UTICA, N.Y. (AP) — Former Republican U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, who represented upstate New York for 24 years, died at age 84, according to a statement from former staff members.

The Utica-area resident died late Monday at a local hospice after a brief illness, according to the statement. He served in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 2007.

Boehlert was chairman of the House Science Committee from 2001 through 2006. And he was a leader of a small moderate Republican faction in Congress that clashed with President George W. Bush over such issues as global warming and spending for social programs.

Boehlert was remembered Tuesday by elected officials in both major parties for his work on behalf of his central New York constituents and for environmental issues.

“Sherry’s rich legacy, his support of science, his commitment to combating climate change, and his deep love for the Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley will live on for generations to come,” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a prepared statement.

Boehlert was elected Oneida County Executive in 1979 and held the position until successfully running for Congress a few years later.

“I’m am deeply saddened by the passing of my long-time friend Sherwood Boehlert," said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente. "Sherry was the epitome of what an elected official should be: dedicated, hardworking, effective and always willing to reach a hand across the aisle. During his long and distinguished congressional career he fought hard for the people of Oneida County, always giving us a strong voice with an emphasis on issues of science, technology and the environment. I was privileged to have worked on his first campaign for Oneida County Executive in 1979 and I owe much of my own career to his guidance."

Boelhert served in the U.S. Army and graduated from Utica College in 1961.

He is survived by his wife, Marianne, and four children among other relatives and friends.

Funeral arrangements were pending.