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Utah leaders react to the death of Rep. John Lewis, who encouraged ‘good trouble’ in the fight for social justice

SHARE Utah leaders react to the death of Rep. John Lewis, who encouraged ‘good trouble’ in the fight for social justice
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In this July 16, 2019, file photo, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., speaks during a television interview at the Capitol in Washington.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah political leaders paid tribute to civil rights icon Rep John Lewis, D-Ga., after the longtime congressman died at 80 years old Friday, drawing a wave of bipartisan condolences across the country.

“With the passing of John Lewis, America has lost not only a man of history, but a man for our season; O how we need such men of unwavering principle, unassailable character, penetrating purpose, and heartfelt compassion,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, tweeted.

Gov. Gary Herbert announced flags were lowered at half-staff Saturday from sunrise until sunset in public buildings throughout Utah to honor him.

“Rep. Lewis was a luminary activist whose courage and resilience helped form a better America. His venerable leadership in congress will be sorely missed,” Herbert tweeted.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, remembered Lewis for his courage.

“John Lewis was a brave man who never hesitated to confront injustice wherever he saw it. He is an American hero and an inspiration to us all. Sharon and I are praying for his family and loved ones,” Lee said on Twitter.

Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Salt Lake branch, posted a link to the civil rights song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” on Facebook and said: “This song is a tribute to Rev. CT Vivian and Rep. John Lewis. Two great Civil Rights advocates. Both of who I was honored to have met.”

Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City and the only African American legislator serving in Utah’s Legislature, wrote on Twitter: “Thank you Mr. Lewis for risking your life to pave the way for me. Thank you for demanding that America live up to her promise. Today we remember his life, legacy and his tireless fight against injustices. #goodtrouble.”

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, shared a tweet from MSNBC host Joy Reid announcing Lewis’ death and showing pictures of Lewis through the years.

“Truly an American hero,” Curtis tweeted. “God bless you, Congressman.”

Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, tweeted a picture of his family with Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and he called him a “civil rights icon and gentle giant of the Congress.”

“It was an honor to cross paths with him,” McAdams said. “His ‘good trouble’ moved our country forward and helped to make us a more perfect Union. He left his mark. His work continues through all of us.”

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, described serving in Congress with Lewis as “an honor.”

“He was a great patriot and will be missed,” Stewart tweeted.

Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, wrote on Twitter: “Thank you for a legacy of service and civil rights RIP Rep. John Lewis.”

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox shared a tweet from W. Kamau Bell that included a quote from Lewis: “History will not be kind to us. So you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate, to speak up, speak out and get in good trouble. You can do it. You must do it. Not just for yourselves but for generations yet unborn.”

Cox added some of his own thoughts.

“And just getting cell service again...only to learn of the passing of John Lewis,” Cox said. “The best of a generation, he leaves an incredible legacy. And so much for us still to do.”