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Rep. Kavulich Stood Out For Right Reasons

October 19, 2018 GMT

Amid the polarization and dysfunction that too often characterize the state House of Representatives, Democratic state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich managed to stand out for the right reasons. Kavulich, 62, died Tuesday morning in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, due to complications from heart surgery. He was a few days from the end of his fourth term representing the 114th Legislative District in Lackawanna County. Unlike many of his colleagues, Kavulich was a natural communicator within the House and among his constituents. He was well known beyond his district because of his previous experience as a sports reporter and anchor for WBRE/WYOU. As a seasoned interviewer, Kavulich understood better than most the value of truly listening to what people had to say, which served him well in office. First elected as a Democrat during the conservative tea party-driven wave of 2010, Kavulich strived to build relationships across the aisle in Harrisburg. Within the district, Kavulich was affable, ubiquitous and easily accessible. He engaged in genuine outreach, beyond the usual scope. After taking office, for example, he continued a valuable program that his predecessor, former state Rep. Jim Wansacz had started, annually gathering hundreds of high school students from the district at Keystone College to examine the structure and operations of state government and its role in their lives. He had little to say himself during those seminars, other than urging the students to speak their minds and become engaged in public life. Kavulich was so engaged — energetically, honestly, passionately and with a clear understanding that the objective was public service rather than self-aggrandizement. He had been unopposed for re-election this year, but will be replaced in a special election at a time to be determined. His successor would be well-advised to use Kavulich’s approach as a model.