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In honor of Thornburgh, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday ordered the US and Pennsylvania flags on all commonwealth services, public buildings and grounds to fly at half-staff instantly.

Thornburgh served as Pennsylvania’s governor for 2 phrases between 1979 and 1987. The next yr he was tapped by President Ronald Reagan to guide the Justice Division, a place he stored throughout George H. W. Bush’s administration, till 1991.

“Governor Thornburgh served two phrases as governor of Pennsylvania, and calm, grounded management was an indicator of his governorship,” Wolf stated in a press release.
Thornburgh’s tenure as governor is marked partially by his administration of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, when a partial meltdown on the plant resulted in essentially the most critical accident at a industrial nuclear energy plant in US historical past.

“He guided Pennsylvania by way of a tumultuous interval in our commonwealth’s historical past following the partial meltdown on the Three Mile Island nuclear energy station,” Wolf stated. “His was a essential and regular voice of calm within the midst of disaster … All of Pennsylvania mourns the lack of one in all our nice public servants.”

The nuclear accident occurred simply 71 days after Thornburgh was sworn in as governor. Amongst a few of his early actions in the course of the disaster was his ordering of the evacuation of pregnant ladies and younger youngsters from the realm. Although there isn’t any indication the discharge of radiation triggered any well being points amongst both staff or most people, the incident led to stricter federal oversight of nuclear energy crops.

Thornburgh additionally “balanced the state finances every year throughout his two gubernatorial phrases, lowered private and enterprise tax charges, minimize the state’s file excessive indebtedness, and left a surplus of $350 million,” in accordance with the Nationwide Governors Affiliation.

On the Justice Division, Thornburgh centered on white-collar crime, drug trafficking and terrorism, amongst different points, in accordance with the NGA.

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As Bush’s lawyer common, Thornburgh performed a key position within the implementation of the landmark 1990 Individuals with Disabilities Act, which expanded civil rights protections for Individuals with disabilities.

Wolf celebrated Thornburgh’s involvement, saying that “throughout his tenure, the workplace of the Lawyer Basic used its energy to advocate for the wants of susceptible Individuals.”

This story has been up to date with further particulars.

CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph contributed to this report.

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