Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Bob Dole thanks Ottawa crowd, stresses bipartisanship message

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 4/21/2014

A legend of Kansas politics, Bob Dole also is widely known for his sense of humor, Bob Fluke said.

“It’s a big honor for us to host him. I’m glad that we got him back here,” Fluke, Franklin County Republican Central Committee chairman, said Monday evening. “He’s a comedian too.”

A legend of Kansas politics, Bob Dole also is widely known for his sense of humor, Bob Fluke said.

“It’s a big honor for us to host him. I’m glad that we got him back here,” Fluke, Franklin County Republican Central Committee chairman, said Monday evening. “He’s a comedian too.”

The former presidential candidate and U.S. senator visited Ottawa Monday as part of his tour this week through northeast Kansas. Dole, a World War II veteran, served in the Senate from 1969 to 1996, and challenged the re-election of Bill Clinton in 1996. Fluke and Linda Reed, Ottawa Mayor, honored Dole by presenting him with a key to the city Monday at Faith Lutheran Church, 1320 W. 15th St., Ottawa.

Dole, 90, isn’t running for election in any capacity, he said of touring the state during an election year — he simply wanted to visit some old friends and Kansans who supported him through the years.

“I’m very pleased to be in Ottawa. I’ve been here many times throughout the years,” Dole said. “I haven’t been on the ballot since 1992. I’ve lost contact with all my friends and made new friends, so I’m driving around the state and enjoying the support ... And also in [1996] ... I think we need a recount.”

Dole, who spent eight years in the House before his 28 years in the Senate, said he remains friends with former adversary President Clinton today, something that might not seem possible in modern politics.

“When I first ran, the issues were taxing and spending, and the issues today are taxing and spending,” Dole said. “But we didn’t have all these side issues that kind of divide people, Democrats and Republicans.”

Dole mentioned his work to help craft the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law by George H.W. Bush in 1990. The bill was introduced by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Bipartisanship, Dole reiterated, is important to a functioning government.

“I believe in bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle, working together on an issue, particularly issues dealing with people with disabilities,” Dole, who was seriously wounded during his World War II service, said. “That was an example of bipartisanship.”

To succeed in politics, Dole said, a person should have basic values — honesty, integrity and accountability — and discipline, all of which should have been taught by parents. A candidate must work hard, regardless of his or her party, he said.

“You can’t worry about losing, and just work as hard as you can, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Dole said. “The voters will decide your fate, but it’s a lot more fun winning.”

State Rep. Blaine Finch, R-Ottawa, was among those in the audience, standing in line for the opportunity to shake hands with the former Kansas senator. Finch was enthusiastic about the prospect of meeting Dole in Ottawa.

“It’s fantastic that the senator was able to come out,” Finch said. “It’s wonderful that he’s 90 years of age and is doing this tour across the state to talk to people. I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

As dozens of Franklin County residents came to meet and interact with Dole, he was sure to thank those who supported him through the years and showed off his comedic chops.

“Thanks to all of you who were around who helped me, and you too, there are some who didn’t help me,” Dole said to laughter from the crowd. “I won so, thank you. No hard feelings.”

comments powered by Disqus