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University of Scranton Highlights McDade’s Congressional Collection

SCRANTON -- When Joe McDade retired from the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999, he donated all of his congressional files to the University of Scranton. 400 boxes of papers are stored at the Weinberg Memorial Library on campus. They tell a story of his dedication to northeastern Pennsylvania.

Michael Kneis, the special collections librarian for the University of Scranton, remembers when 400 boxes containing the paper trail of Congressman Joe McDade's career arrived at the Weinberg Memorial Library.

"(He was) very cooperative and willing to tell stories about his career. I have fond memories of working with him when we obtained the collection," Kneis said.

Most of the collection is in storage. Some of it is on the walls of a library study room informally called the McDade Room, but since his passing on Sunday at the age of 85, select parts of the McDade collection have been laid out for people to see -- snapshots of a 36-year career in Congress.

"His work with mine reclamation, and Steamtown, and also he was active in trying to find, nationally, a solution to the Vietnam War early on in his career," Knies added.

But it was his focus on northeastern Pennsylvania that will be his legacy according to political science professor Dr. William Parente.

"He was not a Ted Cruz or a Rand Paul. He was interested in helping his district. You call it federal money, but in class, I call it 'Dr. Parente's money.' That is tax money that we have sent to Washington and the mark of a good congressman is he gets at least that much back, hopefully, more than we sent," Parente said.

That's why McDade's name is on far more than a study room. The university's performing arts building is named for him and there are many more markers through northeastern Pennsylvania.

"No single man can do everything, but we would be worse off if Joe McDade had not been our congressman," Parente added.

Parts of McDade's congressional collection is available for people to view for the next few weeks in the special collections office at the Weinberg Memorial Library.

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