On the 11th anniversary of U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone’s death, former Sen. Norm Coleman offers words of mourning and respect for the fiery liberal.
Coleman was challenging Wellstone for the Senate seat in 2002 election when a plane crash near Eveleth killed Wellstone, his wife, Sheila, their daughter Marcia and five others.
Coleman won the election 11 days later, beating former Vice President Walter Mondale, who’d been recruited to run in Wellstone’s place.
Friday on his Facebook page, Norm Coleman writes:
Eleven years ago today, Paul Wellstone died in a tragic plane crash.
In a day and age where bitter partisan recrimination seems the order of the day I am compelled to reflect on the life that Paul Wellstone lead both in, and out, of public service.
Paul Wellstone and the very conservative Senator from North Carolina, Jesse Helms, were political opposites. Yet by all accounts, they came to respect each other for the sincerity of their beliefs. It seems we’ve lost that in Washington today, and with that, a certain decency in politics.
Whether you agreed or disagreed with Paul he believed in enough in the power of ideas to be respectful of the difference of opinions of others.
He never stopped believing in the innate goodness of all people and the capacity for all people, regardless of their station in life, to make a difference in the world around them.
That was the most beautiful gift of Paul Wellstone — and I wish his presence were with us today.
As we all reflect on this day of loss of Paul we must also remember there were others who we lost that day when his plane crashed near Eveleth.
Paul, his wife, Sheila, their daughter Marcia Wellstone Markuson and campaign staffers Tom Lapic, Mary McEvoy and Will McLaughlin were all lost on this day.
I knew young Will well. His mom and dad were epic figures in St. Paul politics. He was decent, handsome, bright and talented. A young man with limitless potential. There is a hole in the heart of all of those who continue to love and miss him and all those who perished that day.
There was a time in politics, not so long ago, when you could fight the good fight, disagree on the path to a better future but still respect the opposition for the sincerity of their beliefs.
Paul Wellstone earned the respect of those, including me, with whom he fought. His sincerity was never in doubt. His passion for justice was never questioned. Over a decade later his loss is still mourned by all those whose lives he touched.