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Senator Paul Simon.

Los Angeles

* I notice a common thread running through all the reminiscences about Senator Paul Simon, who died December 9 ["In Fact ..." Dec. 29]. All who met him were struck by his love of humanity and his belief that the proper role of government and the political process was to better the lives of all in our society.

Having had the honor and pleasure to work in Paul's (he was on a first-name basis with everyone) Senate press office in 1987 on an internship, I was impressed by his down-to-earth nature and the strength of his convictions. I was living in South West DC not too far from the Simons', and occasionally the senator would offer me a ride home in his very unassuming car.

One day as we drove past the Capitol, we saw a homeless man sleeping on a steam grate. With a look of indignation, Paul pointed to the man, and said, "Do you want to know what the legacy of Reaganomics is? This is the legacy of Reaganomics."

Senator Simon always tried to find ways to use his office and influence to help the least fortunate--he proposed programs to create jobs and wrote a book on poverty and world hunger with his brother. Paul Simon cared about people, the people he knew and the multitudes he was always trying to help. I will miss Paul Simon, and wish there were more public servants like him.

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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Rugendorf, David S.
Publication:The Nation
Date:Feb 9, 2004
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