Dole's tour — Kansans have much to learn from former U.S. senator

4/22/2014

Bob Dole is making the rounds in his beloved state of Kansas.

Bob Dole is making the rounds in his beloved state of Kansas.

The former United States senator from Russell started with a three-day tour of 10 eastern Kansas cities, and hopes to stop in every county as part of an extended tour of the Sunflower State.

As he travels from one speaking engagement to another, Dole will no doubt offer pearls of wisdom.

The 90-year-old has much to share from a life in which he overcame adversity, and made a difference as a state and federal lawmaker.

Dole entered politics after a long recovery from wounds suffered in World War II. He served in the Kansas Legislature and both chambers of Congress, rising to Senate majority leader. The Republican nominee for president in 1996, Dole lost to incumbent Democrat Bill Clinton.

Years later, Dole remains best known for his contributions in the U.S. Senate, with an 11-year run as Senate majority and minority leader in the 1980s and 1990s.

In coming days and weeks, he'll likely encounter plenty of current lawmakers during his Kansas tour. As he does, the hope is those now in office — and others considering as much in the future — take stock in what Dole accomplished in his career.

Someone who knew the importance of reaching across the aisle to get things done, the Republican heavyweight crafted deals with many Democrats, most notably on Social Security and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

He knew the art of compromise was essential to democracy. Unfortunately, the ability to craft solutions in such a way has all but gone out of style in a political climate of extreme partisanship.

Too many legislators today have an all-or-nothing approach, thinking that has hindered progress in Washington, D.C., and statehouses nationwide. It's no wonder Dole himself has questioned whether he would have had a future in today's political environment.

Agree or disagree with his politics, you had to admire Dole's leadership, determination and effectiveness as a lawmaker.

All Kansans — and particularly those in public service — should consider the positive example set by Dole. And, more should follow his lead.

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