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Sunday, December 10, 2006

DeWine's Senate Farewell: I Miss Paul Wellstone

WASHINGTON (TDB) -- Sen. Mike DeWine delivered his farewell speech to the Senate Saturday, and it is emotionally moving to read some of his words, especially his tribute to Paul Wellstone, the liberal professor from Minnesota who was killed in a 2002 plane crash while campaigning for reelection.

"I want to take a moment to say that I still miss my good friend Senator Paul Wellstone," DeWine, R-Ohio, said about the Democrat whose wife and daughter also perished in the October tragedy. "Senator Wellstone was a determined and outstanding public servant. In 1998, Paul and I worked closely together to write the law that reformed and improved the effectiveness of job training programs. It was always a pleasure to work with Paul Wellstone -- such a passionate and committed and dedicated public servant."

DeWine was defeated by U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, whose name was not mentioned in the speech. And he didn't have to spend any of his time reminiscing fondly about Wellstone. That he did showed character and civility.

He also recalled his own emotional state when he arrived in Washington as a freshman senator and said it was during an extremely tough time in his life.

''When I came to the Senate in 1995, it had been a little over a year since our daughter Becky had been killed. I was, quite candidly, still numb. We, as a family, had been through a lot. I knew that our time is short, and I wanted, as best I could, to spend my time in the Senate working on tangible things -- getting concrete results that impact the lives of families in Ohio and the nation."

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