October 25, 2002

SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE, 1944-2002: Very

SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE, 1944-2002: Very sad news today that Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) was killed in a plane crash this morning along with his wife Sheila, his daughter, and three staff members. Elected to the Senate in '90 (in the famous "who's a better Jew" election over Rudy Boschwitz), re-elected in 1996 and in the midst of a tough re-election fight against Norm Coleman, Wellstone will be remembered as both one of the most outspoken liberals in Washington, as well as one of its most honest men.
I met the senator on a couple of occasions (his speaking engagements at my synagogue and high school, a chance meeting when I was interning for my state representative in college), and it always struck me how "real" he was, as he was always sure to address me by my first name. On one occasion he walked by, I said "hi," and he said "hi Steve"- I wondered how he'd remembered my name after two years when I realized that I had the word "Steve" embroidered on my jacket. I also visited Wellstone's offce on a trip to DC in 1992, and was watching CNN in his lobby the first time I ever saw a poll which showed Bill Clinton leading.
I'm not about to speculate on who's going to replace Wellstone on the ballot or in the Senate, except to say that state Supreme Court Justice Alan Page would be my first choice were it up to me. What I can say is that just as Kirby Puckett was my first hero from my early days as a baseball fan, Paul Wellstone was my first hero from my early days as a political junkie. And while my political views drifted considerably from his over the years, my admiration for the senator's honesty, integrity, and passion remained 'til the end. Paul Wellstone will greatly be missed by all who knew him or knew of him.

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 25, 2002 04:32 PM
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