Former Florida Rep. Tillie Fowler dies

Former Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-Fla.) died yesterday following a brain hemorrhage two days earlier.

Fowler, who focused on defense issues in Congress, was chairwoman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, which counsels Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. She was also a lobbyist with Holland & Knight.

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) said, “I will never forget Tillie’s comforting presence and personal support of me at the time of my daughter’s death. She was a rare find — an example to all members of Congress in her bipartisanship and to women everywhere in her ability to attain the highest levels of power while always putting family first.”

Fowler was elected to the House from her Jacksonville district in 1992. She declined to seek reelection 2000, citing her pledge eight years earlier to serve only four terms.

Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) said, “Tilley was like a big sister to me when I first came to Congress. She quickly became a close, personal friend and adviser — and for that I will always be deeply, deeply grateful.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) called Fowler “a great public servant, a strong advocate for the military and a dear friend.”