Former state legislator Justin Cronin of Gettysburg died yesterday, much too soon, at the age of 40. Cronin had served eight years in the State House, 2009-16, and then three years in the Senate, 2017-19, before he resigned in 2019. During that time, he served four years as the House Assistant Majority Leader, and two years as chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
That’s the official history. To his friends, though – and that was nearly everyone who knew him, because it was hard not to become Justin’s friend – the true memories are the stories. Cronin was a true story teller and there will be many stories told about him. He was a master of impressions. He had a brilliant mind and was an excellent legislator – always willing to think through the policy arguments or the legislative strategy.
Justin was a loyal friend, and it’s no coincidence that I will often think of him as a part of a “pair.” Cronin as assistant leader with his majority leader, David Lust. Cronin with his co-chair Deb Peters, bickering like a brother and sister. Cronin and his “shadow,” Alex Jensen. Cronin and his fellow Senate appropriators John Wiik and Jeff Partridge (technically a trio). Cronin going back and forth with his Gov’s staffer Deb Bowman. And probably most of all, Cronin and his district-mate, Corey Brown, cooking up some new legislative innovation or plotting their next move.
Cronin was a bigger-than-life personality and a good man. He will of course be missed by his family, but his loss is also sorely felt by his “legislative family” at the State Capitol.
Below is a gallery with a few more pictures of Cronin at the Capitol over the years: