PITTSBURGH, April 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a statement today, Elsie Hillman said, "My relationship with Arlen Specter goes back forty years when Arlen Specter, then a young District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia, came to Pittsburgh in 1969 at my request to campaign for Republican Mayoral candidate John Taber. Arlen Specter's relationship with Pennsylvanians goes back even further when he ran for public office in Philadelphia in the mid 60's. While we were on opposite sides during many past campaigns -- in 1976 I was for John Heinz and in 1978 for Dick Thornburgh -- I always respected Arlen. In 1980 I was thrilled to support him in his successful Senate campaign and have been a strong supporter ever since.
Today's announcement is disappointing to some, but should come as a surprise to none. While I am a Republican and will most likely be one for the rest of my life, I have seen our party move further to the right, leaving little room for those of us in the middle. In so doing the Republican Party runs the risk of becoming a minority party. Yesterday we had three moderate Republicans in the U.S. Senate -- today we have only two.
During his twenty eight years in the Senate, Arlen Specter has done much to advance science and medicine through his leadership on the Labor Health and Human Services Committee. His leadership to increase funding for NIH has saved thousands of lives and continues to bring us closer to cures for Cancer, Alzheimer's, Diabetes, and many other terrible diseases. His position on the Judicial Committee and leadership in foreign affairs and crime prevention has been a real asset to our country and state. The words that best describe Arlen in my opinion are:
While I am saddened that Arlen has left the Republican Party, he does so as 200,000 other Pennsylvania Republicans did last year. I believe that he is the brightest member of the United States Senate and I will continue to support him and will vote for him in next year's general election."