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OBITUARIES / Passings / Matthew J. Rinaldo

Lawmaker served in Congress

October 17, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Former New Jersey Rep. Matthew J. Rinaldo, 77, a moderate Republican known for his personal attention to constituent problems, died Monday at an assisted-living facility in West Caldwell, N.J., of complications of Parkinson's disease.

Born in Elizabeth, N.J., in 1931, Rinaldo served in Congress for 20 years, beginning in 1973. He did not run for reelection in 1992, saying he was tired of the bitter partisanship in Congress and of being in the minority party.

Rinaldo was a 1953 graduate of Rutgers University and held an MBA degree from Seton Hall University and a doctorate in public administration from New York University.

He served in the New Jersey state Senate for five years before his election to Congress.

In Congress, he became ranking Republican on the Telecommunications and Finance Committee.

He was known for keeping close contact with constituents, frequently returning from Washington to attend community functions and often calling constituents who had contacted his office to discuss their concerns personally.

Asked before his retirement to name his top accomplishments, he listed a law prohibiting countries that harbor terrorists from getting loans from the Export-Import Bank, a measure providing public access to pollution data and a bill to limit commercials during children's television programs.

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