• President, politicos honor U.S. Sen. James Jeffords
    August 19,2014

    Stefan Hard / Staff File Photo Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.), left, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) smile for photos following groundbreaking ceremony for repairs to the Waterbury Dam at the dam in 2002.

    The death of former U.S. Sen. James Jeffords has drawn responses statewide and nationally, including from:

    President Barack Obama:

    “During his more than 30 years in Washington, Jim never lost the fiercely independent spirit that made Vermonters, and people across America, trust and respect him. Whatever the issue — whether it was protecting the environment, supporting Americans with disabilities, or whether to authorize the war in Iraq — Jim voted his principles, even if it sometimes meant taking a lonely or unpopular stance. Vermonters sent him to Washington to follow his conscience, and he did them proud.”

    Former President Bill Clinton:

    “America lost a great public servant with the passing of Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont, a fine man who always put people above politics.”

    Vice President Joe Biden:

    “Jim Jeffords was a personal friend, a great senator and a good man. He was not only beloved by the people of Vermont, but by anyone who ever worked with him. Jim knew that with a country as diverse as ours, there is a need for consensus to move the country forward. He was a man who dealt with his colleagues without pretext and with complete honesty. And he always knew what he was talking about — and his colleagues and constituents always knew where he stood on an issue. Jim was a reflection of Vermont — independent and non-ideological and always about solving problems.”

    U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.:

    “He was a Vermonter through and through, drawn to political life to make a difference for our state and nation. Part of his legacy will also stand as an enduring chapter of the Senate’s history.”

    U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders:

    “Vermonters admired him because of his low-key and down-to-earth qualities, and because of his obvious and strong love of the state and the Vermont way of life. He was an effective champion of education, disability rights, the environment and the arts — and millions of Americans have benefited from his efforts. In 2001, he displayed enormous courage by leaving a party that, he often said, had left him because of its dramatic move to the right. Jim was a friend and he will be sorely missed.”

    U.S. Rep. Peter Welch:

    “While Jim would certainly wave away the notion (that) he was indeed a legend in Vermont and the nation, with characteristic decency, humility and civility, and a dogged persistence, he made his mark in Congress. Millions of children with disabilities are better off today because he led the charge for their equal access to education. Americans are breathing cleaner air and drinking cleaner water because of his fierce advocacy for the environment and clean energy. And budding artists across the nation receive the boost of his encouragement every year thanks to his legacy as the founder of the annual Congressional Arts Competition. And, in 2001, the world saw what his fellow Vermonters already knew: Jim Jeffords, above all, had the courage of his convictions.”

    Gov. Peter Shumlin:

    “Jim Jeffords: a true gentleman and an independent-minded maverick in the best tradition of our state. Jim followed in the footsteps of Senators Bob Stafford and George Aiken, always putting the interests of Vermonters and the nation ahead of partisan politics. He followed his sense of right in all that he did, and was never afraid to seek compromise by reaching across the aisle for the good of our country. We need more like Senator Jeffords.”

    Lt. Gov. Phil Scott:

    “The legacy of Jim Jeffords — Respect over rhetoric, pragmatism over pandering and love for Vermonters overall.”

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