Monday, July 11, 2005

These things come in threes

by Kyle Michaelis
This morning, at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Ogallala, former Democratic Lt. Governor and Congressman Don McGinley was laid to rest. He was 85 years old.

McGinley's death comes at the end of a six week period that has seen the passing of what seems an entire generation of former Nebraska Democratic office-holders. In the last week of May, we said goodbye to Congressman Claire Callan, followed on June 10th by legendary two-term Governor, three-term Senator J. J. Exon.

McGinley joins these men as the last Democrat in Congress to be elected from Western Nebraska, elected for a single term from 1958-1960. He also served three terms in the state legislature and is credited with being perhaps the winning component to former Gov. Bob Kerrey's 1982 election in his ice-breaking role as the ticket's Lt. Governor.

Kerrey has been quoted in the Nebraska press saying:
"It's possible I would have won election (as governor) without him, but I'm not sure of that. He helped me a lot, especially in understanding western Nebraska and cattle country...."

“He was a smart, solid man with a wicked sense of humor who loved the west." also ran a touching tribute to McGinley from long-time Nebraska reporter Dick Herman hailing his "great charm and story-telling wit." Herman even suggests McGinley was a singularly talented figure in Nebraska political history.

The Nebraska Democrats are a weaker party than they were one week ago, let alone 6 weeks ago before this unfortunate but inevitable series of farewells began. We carry-on in these men's memory and to their honor that a new generation of Nebraska Democrats who can win will emerge and return government to the people and principles they loved so much and served so proudly.


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