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Elliott Levitas

(Georgia & University 1952) (26 December 1950 - 16 December 2022)

When Elliott Levitas became Georgia's first Jewish congressman in 1975, he was already known for being a public servant who had stood up against racism in the formerly segregated state. And he continued his call to aiding others years afterward, helping to lead a landmark class-action lawsuit on behalf of American Indians against the U.S. government.

The legal and political crusader against injustice died Friday, Dec. 16, just 10 days before his 92nd birthday.

Levitas would serve five terms in the Legislature and became a leading proponent for the development of Atlanta's rapid transit system, MARTA.

In 1974, he was elected to represent Georgia's Fourth Congressional District. Levitas headed the subcommittee investigating the Reagan administration's efforts to undermine the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency, which led to the firing of dozens of senior officials.

His environmental efforts as a legislator and U.S. representative also were reflected in his work to create and fund the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area as a national park. Many years later in 2011, the U.S. National Park Service honored Levitas at a ceremony at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.