Former Pennsylvania congressman Bill Goodling dies at 89

YORK, Pa. (AP) Bill Goodling, a former Republican congressman who represented parts of central Pennsylvania in the U.S. House for more than a quarter century has died. He was 89.

A statement from his family says Goodling died Sunday evening.

The native of Loganville, Pennsylvania, took office in 1975 after winning the congressional seat previously held by his father, George Goodling. He represented York County for 13 consecutive terms and served as chairman of what's now known as the House Committee on Education and the Workforce until retiring in 2001.

He was a former teacher, guidance counselor and principal who reached across the political aisle to push for improvements to public education, his family said. The statement noted Goodling as the "father" of the Even Start program, a federal initiative that awarded grants to support literacy programs for adults and children.

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He also was the chairman of the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State's College of Education.

In addition to education work, Goodling's long career in the nation's capital saw him sign off on measures as varied as a bill to support governments of countries in sub-Saharan Africa and legislation that required officials to research harmful effects caused by pollutants in water.

Goodling's family has asked that donations be made to the Bill and Hilda Teacher Scholarship Fund, which helps students interested in careers in public education.