Virginia Republican Rep. Herbert Bateman
, 72, a nine-term congressman and strong military supporter who planned to retire at the end the year, died in his sleep on Monday, September 11, according to a spokesman.
Bateman, first elected in 1982, had dominated his heavily Republican district in the Tidewater region of Virginia. He used his seat on the House Armed Services Committee to support the military and the area's heavy concentration of defense contractors while building a moderate voting record.
The congressman was noted for his steadfast knowledge and experience in dealing with the various challenges that are constantly faced by the U.S. shipbuilding industry today.
Bateman passed away early Monday, after participating in a golf tournament in northern Virginia on Sunday, a spokesman said. It was reported that he succumbed as a result of natural causes.
The Congressman, who was also an avid supporter of the Jones Act, once cited Title XI as "a crucial move for shipowners to secure commercial financing." He believed that the Act granted a firm foundation on behalf of U.S. shipbuilding.
Beginning his career in public service as a Democrat, Bateman later switched to the Republican Party in 1976 while serving in the Virginia Senate
. He had battled a series of health problems in recent years including lung and prostate cancer.