Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – Former President Bill Clinton and other dignitaries are in town to honor former Minnesota Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
A 7-foot bronze statue of the Democratic icon known as the “Happy Warrior” was unveiled Saturday on the Capitol Mall in St. Paul.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale, Gov. Mark Dayton, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and former Gov. Arne Carlson spoke at the dedication.
The memorial is surrounded by gardens and features granite slabs inscribed with memorable Humphrey quotes.
Sen. Klobuchar spoke about Humphrey’s unifying personality.
“What he gave us was a spirit of optimism. The hope and belief that working together, we can make tomorrow better than today,” said Klobuchar.
Humphrey is the founder of the DFL party in the state. He served as Mayor of Minneapolis, and then as Senator for 16 years.
He served as Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson, and also ran for President against Richard Nixon, but lost.
Humphrey died from bladder cancer in 1978.
His name may be most recognized now days as the Metrodome, airport and several schools are named in his honor.
President Bill Clinton revealed that Humphrey was a “boyhood hero.”
“He believed that public service was a noble endeavor. He believed that his adversaries need not be his enemies. He believed that with a happy heart, and an open ear and an honest dialogue – a lot of conflict could be resolved,” said Clinton.
The president also mentioned how Humphrey’s natural inclination towards bipartisanship is perhaps his greatest legacy.
“Humphrey was not a polarizing figure he was a unifying figure and he would embrace people he’d argue with on the floor of the senate and they would walk off together and keep talking…it was a different time and we need to recapture it,” he said.
Part of his living legacy was also in the crowd. Thirteen new Humphrey Fellows, including Mubarak Zeb, were in attendance.
“I’m really honored to be part of the Humphrey legacy,” said Zeb.
Humphrey’s dedication to a cultural exchange of ideas and beliefs live on with this international group of political hopefuls.
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