Va. politicians mourn death of former Lt. Gov. John Hager; Gov. Northam orders state flags to be flown at half-staff

Posted at 8:29 PM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 23:11:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. - Former Lt. Governor John Hager passed away Sunday.

Hager served as the Commonwealth's 37th Lt. Governor from 1998 to 2002. He was chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia from August 2007 until May 2008.

Governor Northam issued the following statement today on the passing of former Lieutenant Governor John H. Hager:

“John Hager devoted his life to public service, and I admired his love for our country and for Virginia. He served in the Army and worked as a businessman, but he will be remembered as a volunteer, an athlete, an author, and a patriot. I first met John after running for public office, and he helped me learn the job of being Lieutenant Governor. Anyone who worked in Virginia politics quickly learned that John was everywhere, and no one outworked him. He earned victory and knew defeat, and he kept going. John held fast to his principles, and he knew when to reach across the aisle to compromise. Our country misses his example. Most of all, John was a family man. Pam and I send our thoughts and prayers to Maggie, Jack, Henry, and the entire Hager family. I have ordered Virginia state flags to be flown at half-staff for ten days in John’s honor.

In honor of Hager, Northam has ordered Virginia state flags to be flown at half-staff for ten days.

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement on the passing of John Hager:

“I’ve known John Hager for more than 30 years and I can attest that John epitomized the very definition of a true public servant. We worked together on the Virginia Health Care Foundation to ensure all Virginians had access to health care. And during my time as Governor, I was proud of the work he did on my Cabinet, serving as the Director of Homeland Security. John was a great Virginian, who, despite the remarkable obstacles he faced in his personal life, was able to persevere and give back to his community. John was a great friend to me and the Commonwealth he served. I want to offer my sincerest condolences to Maggie, the boys, and the entire Hager family on their loss. I will miss him greatly.”

House Republican Leader C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), issued the following statement:

"Lt. Gov. John Hager was the quintessential Virginia gentleman, and public servant. His life was lived in service to our country and our Commonwealth. From the first moment he took the gavel in the Senate chamber, John Hager showed that he was above politics, and put the good of the Commonwealth ahead of all. Though confined to a wheelchair, he stood head and shoulders above his peers. It speaks to his character that any time a major Republican office needed a candidate, John Hager‘s name was one of the first to everyone’s lips. His wife and children are in our prayers. He will be sorely missed, and our Commonwealth and country are darker today in his absence."

Delegate M. Kirkland Cox (R-Colonial Heights) released the following statement:

“Julie and I are heartbroken to learn of the passing of our dear friend John Hager. We join Virginians from all walks of life in recognizing and memorializing his incredible life. John devoted much of his time on Earth to serving others. He served our nation faithfully in the United States Army, rising to the rank of captain. John served honorably as lieutenant governor from 1998 to 2002 and served as an assistant secretary in the Bush administration. Even after his time in public office, John continued to serve the people of Virginia on a wide range of boards and commissions, including the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. John was actively involved in Republican Party politics, and served as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia from 2007 to 2008. He was a frequent guest at fundraising events and was dedicated to the principles of limited government. Even as his health was failing him, John made a point to attend Republican district conventions to cast his vote and show his support for our party’s nominees. I always enjoyed working alongside John. I was able to witness firsthand his dedication to his work and his love for serving others. Though a bout with polio in the 70s impacted his mobility, it never got in the way of the job. He always took time to listen, offer advice, and do what needed to be done to accomplish the task at hand. John’s example of servant-leadership is one that we can all strive to emulate. Julie and I ask the entire Commonwealth to join us in prayer for John’s wife Maggie, his sons John and Henry, and the entire Hager family. We have lost a fine statesman and a true Virginia gentleman. Our Commonwealth is a better place because of John.”

RPV Chairman Rich Anderson issued the following statement on the passing of former Lieutenant Governor and former RPV Chairman John Hager:

"Today, Virginia lost one of its premier sons with the passing of former Lt. Gov. John H. Hager, after a life well-lived as husband, father, grandfather, and revered public servant. John served his Commonwealth and country in numerous positions of public leadership. He served as a United States Army officer, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, and Director of the Virginia Department of Homeland Security after the attacks of 9/11. I was privileged to serve with John as a member of the Statewide Advisory Board of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. I find it today to be a significant challenge in trying to fill the very large shoes that he left to his successors who followed him as Chairmen of the Republican Party of Virginia. Today is a bittersweet moment for us all, as we mourn Lt. Gov. Hager's passing and celebrate the life of this exceptional Virginian. In that spirit, we express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude to Maggie, Jack, Henry, and the entire Hager family for sharing John with his fellow Virginians over his lifetime of selfless service."

Senator Bill DeSteph released the following statement on Hager's passing:

“It is with deep sadness that I share the news of the passing of Former Lieutenant Governor John Henry Hager. The Commonwealth of Virginia lost an inspirational leader today, but I am also struck personally by the loss of such an honorable man and dear friend. John Hager served as Virginia’s 37th Lieutenant Governor from 1998 to 2002. He also served as a Director of Virginia’s Homeland Security and as an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education. He would always make it a point to say hello to everyone and offer a kind word or funny story. As Lieutenant Governor, he would ensure that people clearly understood the significance of the laws we passed and the impact on the lives of our citizens. Albert Einstein once said, ‘A life lived for others, is a life well-lived.’ My good friend John Hager was indeed devoted to public service; from his military service in the United States Army, where he rose to the rank of Captain, to his service as a Chairman for the Republican Party. The Governor has ordered the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia to be flown at half-staff for ten days in honor and memory of Former Lieutenant Governor John Henry Hager. I offer my most sincere condolences to Maggie, Jack, Henry, John’s grandchildren, and the entire extended Hager family, as well as his many friends and colleagues.”