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Dick Scaife's most important legacy

| Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

I first got the chance to meet Dick Scaife when I was a young candidate for the state's 35th Senatorial District in 1980. He supported my candidacy then, and over the course of the following decades we developed a strong friendship that endured until his recent passing.

In the years that followed my state Senate race, he continued his support of both me and the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. His financial support, editorial support and many suggestions were incredibly helpful to the state party. The Republican Party of Pennsylvania's great successes in 2010, including winning the race for governor, U.S. senator and five congressional seats, were due in part to his unwavering support of our many candidates across the commonwealth.

Although Dick's financial support was welcome, his advice on politics and business was even more valuable. Our meetings were always informative and interesting. His breadth of knowledge on most any topic was exceptional.

One of the biggest influences in my life was my father, former Cambria County Republican County Chairman Robert A. Gleason Sr., who was an astute politician. He taught me early in life about the value of newspapers in the political arena and he read countless papers each and every day.

Dick reminded me of my father. Not only did they possess a similar political acumen, but they both possessed an all-encompassing passion for knowledge and information.

Despite his incredibly busy schedule, Dick found time to read the newspapers of his competitors every single day. In particular, I'll always remember him as having a copy of the New York Post on his desk. When I asked him about it, he was quick to tell me about what a fine newspaper it was. Based on his recommendation, I started to read it and I have not stopped to this day.

Dick will be remembered for many things. From his support of various local and national political causes to serving as a patron for the arts, his legacies range far and wide and his influence will be felt for years to come. But in my mind, it is his newspapers, and specifically the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that will be remembered as the greatest of all of his numerous accomplishments.

At a time when many daily newspapers were disappearing due to the severe pressure of the Internet and other electronic media, he was investing in and growing newspapers. Seven days a week, 365 days a year, thousands of people get their news from and are entertained by the Tribune-Review and its sister newspapers.

Because of his efforts and guidance, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is a national newspaper of record. That is a real and important legacy, and I am confident that his newspapers will serve both Southwestern Pennsylvania and the nation for generations to come.

I will personally miss Dick Scaife. I considered him a friend. The Republican Party of Pennsylvania will miss him, but we will never forget him.

Rob Gleason is chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.

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