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NEWARK, Del. – More than 350 friends and colleagues attended a Dec. 21 memorial service at the University of Delaware to honor the legacy of former state Senator Bill Roth, who passed away on Dec. 13 at the age of 82. Roth, who represented Delaware for 34 years in Congress, was best known as a relentless crusader for tax cuts. He created the “Roth IRA” tax-free savings account, co-authored the 1981 Kemp-Roth tax cut and in 1998 held Senate hearings on alleged Internal Revenue Service abuses. Roth began his career in 1966 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1970 for the first of his five terms. Roth’s legacy goes beyond retirement issues. Credit unions have him to thank for his muscle in keeping the home mortgage interest deduction intact, said Leon Peace, CUNA Manager for tax, pensions, and housing. “He was the first and only member of Congress to introduce a resolution to stop any erosion of the deduction,” Peace said. While working for the National Association of Home Builders in the 1990s, Peace lobbied Roth on several issues and saw first hand the bipartisan support Roth garnered for the home mortgage interest deduction. “When it came to credit unions, once you had Sen. Roth on your side, you had him all the way and everyone backed off,” said Peace, who worked on Roth’s election campaigns and attended Roth’s memorial at the University of Delaware. “He didn’t beat his own drum but he’s known for more than retirement and savings.” Officials from the Delaware Credit Union League also remembered Roth’s affinity to credit union issues. In 1998, Delaware CUs honored Senator Roth at a dinner, acknowledging his commitment to the consumer in the area of savings accounts and tax policy, which resulted in the individual retirement account that bears his name. Roth was the longest-serving, statewide-elected official in Delaware’s history. “He was a great friend to consumers and deeply understood the credit union philosophy of people helping people,” said Bob Walls, DCUL president/CEO. “Any time we were in Washington or he came to Wilmington, we always had the opportunity to meet with him. He took the time to know what the issues were before meeting with us.” Walls said Roth so genuinely understood the mission of the movement that while the Senator served as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, he vowed, “no one would tax credit unions.” Pres. Bush praised Roth’s “extraordinary career,” describing him as the “taxpayer’s friend and the people’s champion.” “He worked to cut wasteful government spending and was one of the first to argue that lower taxes would lead to greater economic growth,” Bush wrote in a statement. Roth is survived by his wife, Jane Richards Roth, a judge on the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; a daughter, Katharine Roth of Washington, a son William V. Roth III of Annandale, Va.; and four grandchildren. [email protected]

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