by Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
It is hard to believe, but it has been 10 years since United States Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife Sheila and their daughter Marcia died in a plane crash while campaigning for reelection. Senator Wellstone was a true grassroots organizer who was a passionate environmentalist and an advocate for civil rights. The Nation has a report on Paul Wellstone’s legacy.
Katrina vanden Heuvel has also written a touching and fitting tribute to Wellstone for the Washington Post:
It’s been ten years since we lost Paul Wellstone, a relentless champion, a true public servant and one of the very few social movement senators we’ve ever had. He was the first politician whose death made me weep. But in an era of craven compromises and bipartisan austerity, it seems almost unfair to call Paul Wellstone a politician at all.
A college professor who was fired for activism, and then re-hired because of activism, Wellstone was a pioneer of conviction politics. He openly championed the democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and like George McGovern, his friend and a man he admired, he never apologized for his liberal beliefs.
In 2008 Wellstone’s friend and fellow Minnesotan Al Franken defeated Republican Norm Coleman for Wellstone’s Senate seat. You can learn more about Paul Wellstone and his legacy at Wellstone Action. When you have time you should really watch the videos below.