It was a treat to see the living legend Bob Dole on his statewide speaking tour in Larned recently. It was fun to study Dole up close and understand why he’s such an inspiration to Americans.
He owes his success to the Kansas work ethic he learned from his parents in Russell. He’s inspired millions of Americans by showing persistence is the key to achieving success.
Dole is a military hero, decorated with two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star after surviving life-threatening injuries in Italy. The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed in the military. The Bronze Star is awarded for acts of heroism, merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
Dole’s legacy is built on a commitment to U.S. veterans and advocacy for people with disabilities. He led the fundraising effort for the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Dole is an independent Republican who used his ability to compromise to get some goals accomplished while keeping both moderates and conservatives satisfied.
He served with distinction for 36 years in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate after earning a law degree and working as Russell County Attorney. He served as Majority Leader and Minority Leader in the Senate.
Dole was an ardent supporter of rights for disabled Americans. He spearheaded the groundbreaking Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, a historic civil rights legislation.
Dole never became President.
But there are multiple reasons to believe our country would be a much safer and prouder place had Dole beaten Bill Clinton in the 1996 presidential race.
Dole is the only person to have been a party’s nominee for both President in 1996 and Vice President in 1976 with Gerald Ford without being elected to either office.
The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, housed on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence is a testament to his beliefs. It was established in 2003 to bring bipartisanship back to politics.
He remains one of the state’s premier ambassadors.
“I come from a place where common-sense people live. Kansas is a great place and it’s home to me,” Dole said. “You can take the boy out of Kansas, but you can’t take Kansas out of the boy.”