LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole died at the age of 98 on Sunday.
During his 36-year career on Capitol Hill, Dole became one of the most influential legislators and party leaders in the Senate, combining a talent for compromise with a caustic wit.
Today's accessible government offices and national parks, sidewalk amps and sign-language interpreters at official local events are just some of the more visible hallmarks of his legacy.
In his later years, he dedicated his time to supporting wounded veterans, their fallen comrades and remembrance of World War II vets.
Dole had tried three times to become president of the United States, and was the GOP's vice presidential candidate on the losing ticket with President Gerald Ford.
Following the news of his death, local lawmakers began to respond with their condolences and memories of Dole.
Below are their statements:
Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader (R-Ky.)
"Elaine and I join the nation in mourning Bob Dole, our good friend and a bona fide American hero.
“Bob’s lifetime of service was rooted in a simple mission: looking out for his neighbors. At first that meant serving his customers at a soda fountain in Russell, Kansas. Then it meant heroic, decorated service with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in World War II; brutal fighting from which Bob barely made it home. And then came a remarkable career in public service, capped off by nearly 30 years in the U.S. Senate and more than a decade as Republican Leader.
“Senate Republicans and the entire Senate were better off for Bob’s stewardship. But more importantly, his beloved Kansas and the entire nation reaped huge rewards from his service. Bob was a steady leader and a legislative master. He unlocked both conservative victories and big bipartisan achievements. His Dust Bowl roots fueled a special commitment to vulnerable Americans, and sure enough, Bob’s work on food security, veterans’ issues, and the rights of disabled Americans have continued to have an especially lasting impact.
“Whatever their politics, anyone who saw Bob Dole in action had to admire his character and his profound patriotism. Those of us who were lucky to know Bob well ourselves admired him even more. A bright light of patriotic good cheer burned all the way from Bob’s teenage combat heroics through his whole career in Washington through the years since. It still shone brightly, undimmed, to his last days.
“Bob Dole lived the kind of full, rich, and deeply honorable American life that will be impossible for any tribute today to fully capture. As we mourn this most distinguished American son, we send our sincerest condolences to Elizabeth, Robin, and the entire Dole family.”
Todd Young, Senator (R-Ind.)
"One of the greats of the Greatest Generation, courageous in war, humble and civil in peace, Senator Bob Dole believed in the American people, our system, and our way of life. He spent a lifetime working through institutions to serve others, especially his fellow veterans. His life should remind us all that common decency and public virtue is not a hindrance to political success. May peace be with Mr. Dole’s family, and may Bob Dole – an authentic American Hero – forever rest in peace."