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UCLA Magazine Winter 2003
The Rising
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Winter 2003
The Cardinal of Westwood
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Congressman Lewis visiting Iraq
In September, Rep. Jerry Lewis led the first congressional delegation to visit postwar
Iraq.

Lewis was at the forefront of efforts to quickly pass an emergency spending bill to fight terrorism after Sept. 11. He has since helped President Bush pass four supplemental spending bills and has been one of the strongest supporters of the war in Iraq and international anti-terrorism efforts. Lewis has led congressional fact-finding delegations to the Middle East over the past few years, the most recent of which was in September to postwar Iraq.

"I have never been more proud to be a member of Congress," says Lewis. "Our delegation held a reception for members of the Coalition Council at a downtown Baghdad hotel, which was bombed that very morning. We were advised to cancel, but as it turned out, 40 to 50 members of the coalition, with a full range of political views, attended the reception."

Lewis describes standing on an Iraq hillside and seeing clothing remnants through the mounds of dirt. "Throughout the country, those hills were the burial grounds for more than half-a-million people," he says. "At the same time, you could see families still looking for remains or keepsakes from loved ones who had been killed."

Following the delegation visit, Lewis was prepared for a tough vote on emergency spending in Iraq, but all 17 members of the delegation, representing both parties and a broad range of attitudes, supported the president's package.

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