Since former U.S. Senator Wendell Ford died today, thought it’d be a good idea to share a few quotes from various people:
Senator Wendell Ford was not only a close friend, but a mentor to me. He was one of the best Kentuckians I’ve ever known, and he deeply loved our Commonwealth and all of its people.
Sen. Ford was a true statesman. On every stage, he represented Kentucky with dignity and honor, embracing compromise to achieve results that benefitted the Commonwealth. His service has provided an extraordinary example for others who wish to serve Kentucky, and especially for me.
I will miss Sen. Ford’s friendship and, most of all, his incredible support and counsel. Andrew and I send our warmest thoughts and prayers to his wife Jean and their family.
This is a sad day for all of Kentucky. Wendell Ford was a lion of a public servant for Kentucky and the nation, but he had the heart and kindness of a lamb. He was my dear friend, and one of the largest influences on my professional life. I am so saddened to learn of his passing, yet I know I am blessed to have known him and learned from him. Since I was 18 years old, I have kept a picture of the two of us, signed by him, from the day we first met in his office in Washington, D.C. I keep it because I recall how extraordinarily kind and attentive he was to a high school kid, and it serves as a reminder to me of how people should be treated.
Wendell Ford fought for Kentucky – its schools, its towns, its farmers, and its airports. But most of all, he fought for the people of the Commonwealth he loved so dearly. What a public servant. What a man. What a life. Rest in peace, my dear friend.
Elizabeth and I, and our family, send our condolences to his wife Jean (who even the Senator called ‘Mrs. Ford’), to his children Steve and Shirley, to his grandchildren, and to the entire Ford family. They will be in our prayers.
Kentucky has lost one of its great statesmen, and we all have lost a friend. Jane and I join with all of Kentucky to mourn the loss of Senator Wendell Ford. As I began my career in public service, I watched and learned from Senator Ford, who was the epitome of principled leadership. In every office in which he served, his methods were simple: Wendell Ford listened, he cared, and he got the job done. Our state and our nation are better places for his decades of thoughtful, cooperative work to help people. We are grateful for his legacy of service, and our prayers are with his wife, Jean, their children, Steve and Shirley, and their families.
I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Sen. Wendell Ford, who was one of Kentucky’s great leaders. He was a true voice for the people of Kentucky throughout his remarkable career in public service, and so many Kentuckians are better off today because of his leadership and willingness to always put Kentucky first. I got my first job in politics in the mailroom of his Senate campaign, and he continued to mentor and guide me throughout my career, just as he did so many other Kentucky leaders. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Jean, and his entire family during this time of mourning and remembrance of this iconic Kentucky statesman.
Kentucky has lost a great elder statesman in Wendell Ford. He was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration. I will miss his good counsel and his fellowship. He leaves behind a legacy of progressive leadership and public service that all Kentuckians can be proud of. Our prayers go out to his family.
President Barack Obama:
Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of former Senator Wendell Ford. A veteran, businessman, Governor and four-term Senator, Wendell dedicated his life to the people of Kentucky. He believed deeply in fairness – everyone doing their part, everyone getting a fair shot. A formidable political strategist, he fought to make sure all Americans had equal access to the polls, championed paying workers a decent wage and extending a helping hand to those looking for work, and mentored scores of young people who entered public service with Wendell’s advice and support. Few in politics were as admired as he, and few have had as great an impact on his beloved Kentucky. Wendell leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of service, and a Commonwealth and country that are stronger and fairer thanks to him. Michelle and I send our condolences to his wife Jean and all the members of the Ford family.
Vice President Joe Biden:
Jill and I were very sorry to hear of the passing of Senator Wendell Ford.
He was one of the most effective legislative leaders I’ve ever worked with throughout my entire career. His philosophy was summed up when he said, “why make a speech when you can sit down with your colleagues and work something out?”
He always took care of Kentucky, but never lost sight of the fact that he represented all of America.
During Wendell’s time in the Senate, he helped bring greater transparency to government, greater safety to the airlines, and greater access to the polls.
It was thanks to his leadership as Whip that the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994 as part of the Biden Crime Bill, changing the lives of so many women and men in this country and around the world.
On a personal note, Senator Ford has been an important part of our family for a long time. He gave Sara Jones Biden, from Owensboro, Kentucky, her first job on the Hill when she graduated from Duke Law School, and that’s how she met my brother Jimmy.
Last May, Jill had the honor of speaking at Owensboro Community College in Wendell’s hometown, and it was clear that his legacy will long outlive him in Owensboro, in Kentucky, and across the United States.
Wendell was an extremely effective senator and a great personal friend whose advice I sought long after he had left the Senate. I will miss him.
Our thoughts are with Jean, Steve, and Shirley during this difficult time. He was a good man.
Kentucky has lost one of its greatest defenders, the honorable Wendell Ford. The people of the Commonwealth chose to have Ford in the foxhole with them time and again, electing him to consecutive terms as lieutenant governor, governor and senator.
Although he was a staunch Democrat, Senator Ford never hesitated to reach across the aisle for issues that benefited Kentucky the most, from promoting the development of coal-based synthetic fuels to protecting tobacco farmers.
He shed a new light on Kentucky country boys in Frankfort and Washington, proving that we always keep our word, we never back down from a challenge, and showing a little kindness goes a long way.
He was a true statesman for Kentucky who not only impacted change for today, but for tomorrow and generations to follow. My wife Cynthia and I offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Jean and the host of family and friends who stood steady by his side through the years.