Pennsylvania Bids Farewell to James R. Roebuck, a Democratic Pillar and Education Advocate

James RoebuckImage via Pennsylvania House of Representatives

HARRISBURG, PA — James R. Roebuck Jr., the long-standing Democratic representative for Pennsylvania’s 188th District and a relentless promoter of education, passed away on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

Representing West Philadelphia from 1985 until 2020, Roebuck left an indelible mark on his constituents and colleagues, with his commitment to academia distinguishing him as a formidable advocate for education in the Keystone State.

In the aftermath of his passing, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC) expressed their heartfelt condolences and appreciation for Roebuck’s significant contributions. PLBC Chair Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery, lauded Roebuck for his tireless advocacy and his dedicated service to the residents of Pennsylvania.

“James R. Roebuck was a true statesman, a lawmaker who worked relentlessly for his West Philadelphia neighbors and every resident of this Commonwealth,” Nelson said. He emphasized Roebuck’s influential legacy, particularly in the realm of education, where the late representative’s dedication will continue to resonate in future generations.

In 2021, the PLBC commemorated Roebuck’s dedication to education by renaming their student scholarship in his honor. This testament of respect will continue to promote academic pursuits among the state’s youth, underscoring the significance of Roebuck’s tireless advocacy.

Expressing his grief, State Representative Rick Krajewski, who succeeded Roebuck in the 188th District, praised his predecessor’s relentless commitment to public education. Krajewski stated, “Jim was a longtime champion for public education in Philadelphia, fighting against Republican budget cuts for years.”

Krajewski further highlighted the pivotal role Roebuck played as a cornerstone of the West Philadelphia community alongside his wife. He vowed to continue Roebuck’s legacy in his service to the district.

Acknowledging Roebuck’s inestimable service to Philadelphia, Rep. Morgan Cephas, Chairwoman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, said, “Chairman Roebuck served his West Philadelphia district with distinction for 35 years as state representative and was involved in his community his entire life. His leadership extended beyond the 188th District as the longtime chairman of the House Education Committee, fighting for Pennsylvania students and ensuring opportunity for higher education for all.”

State Rep. Peter Schweyer, Majority Chair of the Pennsylvania House Education Committee, affirmed that Roebuck’s valuable contributions to education would continue inspiring their work. “My colleagues and I will honor Chairman Roebuck in the best way we can: by living up to his exceptional standards fighting for every kid,” Schweyer stated, calling all Pennsylvanians to join in honoring Roebuck’s legacy and remembering his loved ones in their thoughts and prayers.

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