Former congressman Vern Ehlers passed away Tuesday.

Ehlers served as a U.S. Member of Congress for the Third Congressional District representing Kent, Barry, and Ionia Counties from December 1993 until his retirement in January 2011.

Now we hearing from a co-worker of Ehlers.

Chris Barbee served as Ehler's Press Secretary for nearly eight years.

"Vern holds a special place in my heart. He was a great boss," says Barbee.

Ehlers was the first physicist ever elected to congress.

"When there were science related issues that came up, he could really say, I understand it because I'm a scientist and not a lot of other Congressman could do that," says Barbee.

Ehlers championed causes involving the environment and manufacturing but Barbee says his connection with the people of West Michigan will have a lasting impact.

"The connection was real because Vern was real, what you saw was what you got, there was nothing phony about Vern, he would always take the time to talk to people and was never in a rush to get away," says Barbee.

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