Lehigh Valley

Colleagues remember State Rep. Dan McNeill

SALISBURY TWP., Pa. - Representative Daniel McNeill died Friday of natural causes, according to the Lehigh County coroner.

He was 70 years old.

"He had that big booming voice, a big booming passion, and a really big heart. He cared about this job and he cared about the people he represented," said State Representative Mike Schlossberg.

McNeill was a political pillar in the community.

The Democrat represented Lehigh County at the state level in the 133rd district and also served for several years as a Whitehall Township Commissioner.

He's now being remembered by his fellow politicians and friends.

"Danny was this larger than life character. He was really one of the most heartfelt wonderful people I've known," said State Representative Peter Schweyer.

"Danny spent his whole life in the Lehigh Valley, East Allentown, and then Whitehall. He was a commissioner, a township executive, and worked for Lehigh County as a state representative for five years" added Schlossberg.

McNeill graduated from Dieruff High School and made a career working for Ironworks Local 36.

"Danny was an iron worker and he would be the first to tell you. And he was made of iron," said Schlossberg.

In 2013 McNeill took over the 133rd State House district that includes parts of Bethlehem, Whitehall Township, Catasauqua, Coplay, Fountain Hill, and a section of Salisbury Township.

"He was a labor guy. He was a leader in so many issues that affected working families," said Schweyer.

As a state legislator, McNeill was a part of several committees including the finance, labor and industry, local government, agriculture, and rural affairs committees.

But it was the opioid crisis that really grabbed his attention.

"He knew about the ravages of addiction better than most. In recent years that was his core issue," said Schlossberg.

Governor Tom Wolf remembered him as an advocate for workers and middle class families.

"He was a fearless partner in battling the opioid epidemic both in Harrisburg and in his district, where he worked to fight the stigma of addiction through many town hall meetings," Wolf said in a statement.

But perhaps his greatest job was being a family man.

"He had a wonderful wife, Jeanie. They went everywhere together. He has two daughters and a granddaughter that he absolutely adored," added Schlossberg.

In the meantime, Schweyer says McNeill's office will remain staffed and ready to handle the needs of people in the community.

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