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'He was a legend': Supporters of former Sen. Bob Dole recall his contributions to US politics

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Posted at 7:23 PM, Dec 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 00:55:06-05

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, 98, passed away Sunday morning after battling stage four lung cancer. Signs of tribute could be seen at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics on the University of Kansas campus.

“His one wish for this place was that it not be personal monument but become a place where people get together to talk and to plan their shared future,” said director Audrey Coleman.

The institution was inspired by the legacy of Bob and Elizabeth Dole. It encourages future generations to practice bipartisanship, civic engagement and public service. Dole pioneered much of those values during his time in the highest halls of government.

“I think it’s very important for Kansas to be able to look to Senator Dole and recognize that he came from a rural part of our own state — that he worked hard through tough adversity,” Coleman said.

His efforts in Congress are deeply appreciated by those affected. Dole spearheaded multiple policies to support farmers, agriculture, military veterans, disabled Americans and world hunger. Many visitors put their thoughts of gratitude to pen and paper.

“Really any major piece of legislation in the latter half of the 20th century, he had a role — whether big or small,” Coleman said.

Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party Michael Kuckelman will best remember Dole for the unwavering support of his party.

“You know, if a Kansan reached out to him, he would almost always respond,” Kuckelman said. “As the chair of Kansas Republican Party, I always felt honored that he would call and he would offer his advice. He offered his support.”

Kuckelman says even in his 98th year of life, Dole stayed sharp and invested. They talked politics on the phone just last week.

“He shaped a lot of policy that we have today in our country,” Kuckelman said. “He had an impact on so much of what goes on in the state of Kansas today but even as a country.”

He left a legacy beyond Kansas, making an impact on American politics through his service in both branches of the U.S. Congress.

As America looks to the future, Kuckelman said, “Senator Dole will be sorely missed, he was a legend."