NEW BEDFORD —  Former New Bedford Mayor, City Councillor, and member of the state House and Senate George Rogers has passed away at 84-years-old on Saturday night.

Friend and former colleague of Rogers, City Councillor At-Large Brian Gomes, confirmed his death to WBSM News this morning, saying that he was notified “through political sources last night that George Rogers had passed away.”

Gomes is the only active Councillor to have previously worked with Rogers in the chambers, and says that his passing is a big loss for the people of New Bedford.

“He was a very unique individual, a very strong voice. A man who once he was onto an issue or onto a project or wanted to bring some resolve to the city, there was no stop for him. He’d go to the extreme to make sure it got through and it was in the affirmative to the City of New Bedford,” said Gomes. “It’s a loss to the City of New Bedford today to hear of his loss because George Rogers did a lot of good things for the people of the city and he also stood up for the people of the city when he knew it was in trouble.”

Rogers worked in public service for decades on both the local and state level. He began his political career in 1965 when he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, serving until 1970. In 1969, Rogers was elected as Mayor of New Bedford until he lost his reelection campaign in 1971.

Rogers returned to New Bedford politics in 1974 to be elected as a Councillor At-Large, and in the same year would also win a seat in the State Senate. However, Rogers faced legal troubles in 1978 when he was convicted of conspiracy to steal and bribery. Rogers was sentenced to two years in prison for the charges.

After serving his time, Rogers was reelected to the City Council in 1989 and remained Councillor At-Large until he returned to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1999. Rogers lost his reelection bid to the House in 2002 after he was accused of showing gay pornography to a minor. He was later found not guilty.

In a statement to WBSM News, Mayor Jon Mitchell says that he has ordered all flags flown at City buildings to be flown at half-staff on Monday, July 2.

“George Rogers dedicated his adult life in service of New Bedford, as Mayor, and later as State Senator and City Councillor,” Mitchell said. “His knowledge of public policy and parliamentary procedure were exceptional, and he never shied away from the political fray. I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

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