Local congressmen reflect on Nancy Reagan's life - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local congressmen reflect on Nancy Reagan's life

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann was at home when he got word of Nancy Reagan’s death Sunday.

“Tremendous sadness, but great reflection on a wonderful lady and a great legacy,” said Fleischmann.

Fleischmann says he was a child of the Reagan era.

He never met the former first lady who was known for her elegance. 

But in 1982 he did meet her husband Ronald Reagan in Chicago.

“Ronald Reagan was the keynote speaker. I was privileged to get to meet him which was a real thrill because just a couple of years earlier he was elected in 1980. It was really an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s something I never forgot ,” said Fleischmann. 

Nancy Reagan wasn't only Ronald Reagan’s wife, but was also his closest adviser and protector. 

Fleischmann says she helped her husband change the direction of the Republican Party, and the country.

Fleishmann says Nancy Reagan’s passing brings a time of reflection for all Americans.

“I would like to say: "thank you!" I hope that this would inspire people who want to serve in public life to work with their spouses to make our country better and stronger,” said Fleischmann. 

As first lady Nancy Reagan launched the: "just say no to drugs" campaign. She beat breast cancer during her husband’s presidency. 

Monday, Senator Todd Gardenhire offered his reflections on the former first lady after working as a member of her advance team. 

“First lady is a very accurate term to describe Nancy Reagan,” Gardenhire said.  “She was first in Ronald Reagan’s life and she put him first.  And, she was also a lady at all times.  The first lady you saw on television is exactly who Nancy Reagan was when the doors were shut and the media were out of the room.  She was a genuinely wonderful woman who was gracious, kind and thoughtful.” 

She will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, alongside her husband.

Nanacy Reagan died of congestive heart failure. She was 94.

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