LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Numerous political leaders are remembering former Arkansas governor and Sen. Dale Bumpers following Bumpers' death at age 90. His family announced his passing on January 1:
Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton:
"Dale Bumpers was a governor of profound historical importance, the most eloquent defender of our constitution in the Senate, a man who put his considerable gifts of wisdom, wit, and passion to work for the common good.
"For more than 40 years Hillary and I cherished his friendship. I am grateful that his advice made me a better governor and President, and that we laughed at each other's jokes even when we'd heard them before.
Former President Clinton:
"As governor, he gave us the revenue system that made modernization possible, especially in education. As Senator he had the courage to vote against both the tax cuts and spending increases that exploded our national debt, increased inequality, and slowed growth. He championed efforts to protect the environment throughout his career. And first, last, and always he defended the constitution_its rights, responsibilities, and rules."
Gov. Asa Hutchinson:
"The entire state mourns the loss of an Arkansas legend. In my first statewide race, Dale took me to school on Arkansas politics. He was a master storyteller, and his stump speaking was impossible to beat. From that first campaign in which we were competitors to the time we served together in Congress, I have admired Dale for his skill, heartfelt convictions and his sense of humor. After he retired, he continued to set an example of civic responsibility and good will during a time of increased partisanship in our nation."
Former Gov. Mike Beebe:
"An elite public speaker, Dale's passion for good policy and responsible government brought opponents to common ground and inspired the detached to become involved citizens. He paired his light-hearted swagger with his unabashed love for the Arkansans who carried him from a Charleston, Arkansas, law office to the halls of the U.S. Senate."
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman:
"He was a statesman who served Arkansas with distinction. His legacy is one of dedication to this state we all love."
Former Arkansas governor and current Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee:
"I first knew him as a political opponent and I must confess he beat me like a drum. Later, when I became Governor and he was the Senior Senator we worked very well together. Senator Bumpers was extremely helpful to the state and to me personally. His distinguished service to his country in the Marine Corps, to his state as a Governor and Senator is a legacy of which his family can be justly proud. Our political differences aside, he was a dedicated public servant who always reminded his audiences that 'public service is a noble calling.'"