Tribute to Paul de la Garza

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of florida

in the house of representatives

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mr. DAVIS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in honor of Paul de la Garza, a passionate, dedicated journalist whose stories have sparked critical changes at Tampa's James A. Haley VA Medical Center and elsewhere. Paul's passing last month is a tremendous loss to his colleagues at the St. Petersburg Times and the entire Tampa Bay community.

Paul's inspiring work ethic developed at an early age. From humble beginnings in Port Isabel, TX, Paul worked his way through elementary school, high school and college and fought his way into the newsroom. Paul cultivated his love for journalism at the University of Texas at Austin where he served as reporter and editor of the student newspaper, earning a job offer in the Associated Press's Chicago bureau.

Paul first came to the Tampa Bay area in 1992 to work for the St. Petersburg Times, writing police news stories, a column and helping to edit the Tampa section. He went on to work at the Chicago Tribune as a metro reporter, then a foreign correspondent and Mexico City bureau chief.

The St. Petersburg Times welcomed Paul's return in 2000, and since then, his breaking news stories have helped to expose problems in veterans health care services at Haley, as well as shedding light onto operations at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base.

Paul's relentless pursuit of sources, his ability to befriend people from all walks of life, and his passion for revealing the truth, made him a superb journalist. But Paul will also be remembered for his compassion for others, his brave battle against Hodgkin's disease, and his intense love of family.

On behalf of the entire Tampa Bay community, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Paul's family. May his wife and children find comfort in the many people that Paul inspired and the legacy he leaves behind.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).