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Washington needs more people like Senator Warren Rudman (+video)

Sen. Rudman, who passed away last week, was perhaps best known for his legislation on deficit reduction. But he also fought tirelessly for campaign finance reform and citizen-funded elections. And he was willing to work across the aisle and stand up to his own Republican party to do it.

COMMENTARY: Harvard Kennedy School Professor Linda Bilmes discusses the US national debt and deficits.
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Republicans weighing the direction their party should take after the election would do well to consider the example of one of their own: the late great Sen. Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, who passed away last week. I was privileged to work with him during the final, lesser-known chapter of his distinguished public service career, and to observe a different kind of statesmanship from what we're accustomed to seeing on Capitol Hill.

Writing in this publication Rudman called himself an “old-fashioned sentimentalist” because he believes that the US Senate could still be a place where “sober-minded men and women with a hankering for public service came together to listen to different points of view and forge common solutions to the nation's tough problems.”

He saw a Congress “stuck in the mud of strident partisanship, excessive ideology, never-ending campaigns,” and he was deeply concerned that the “bridge-builders” in Washington had all but left the scene.

But Senator Warren Rudman did more than just bemoan the Washington state of affairs. He worked hard to set things right while serving on Capitol Hill, and continued his efforts long after he had returned to private life. While he is rightly remembered for his legislative accomplishments as senator, especially on deficit reduction, there is a little-known aspect of his post-Senate career that bears special note. 

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