Early this morning the United States of America lost a giant. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia succumbed to effects of a heat stroke that manifested itself with additional symptoms. Senator Byrd was a model representative for the voters of West Virginia since his election to the House of Representatives in 1952. Since then Byrd’s voice has transcended generations of members in the upper chamber articulating arguments that straddled partisan lines, regardless of popular and political pressures.
Byrd’s recognition for his stances on issues is what helped him lead the Senate as Majority Leader and all of his other leadership roles. Byrd’s leadership allowed the country to experience substantive debate that helped shape our nation for half of a century, even if you disagreed with what he had to say.
Senator Byrd’s relationships developed over his time in the Senate along with many of his stances on issues. Byrd’s open-mindedness, especially regarding his stances on Civil Rights, changed as the views of his constituents and pulse of America changed, ensuring that West Virginia would always have its voice accurately heard in the United States Senate.
Byrd was present for all of the critical votes during the recent health care debate and upon his final affirmative vote exclaimed, Mr. President, this is for my friend Ted Kennedy! Aye!
Byrd’s abilities to govern from the center of an idealistic spectrum and commitment to bipartisan representation is legendary and should serve as a model for all elected officials at every level of government in our Nation.