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Tributes to Paul Wellstone

In Memoriam: Paul and Sheila Wellstone

Paul Wellstone was my senator. Though I am now a senior in college, he has been my hero since I was 10 years old. Today people around me are buzzing about the balance of power in the Senate and what this means for partisan politics, I feel that they are missing something crucial. What we have lost as a nation is more profound than that. His vision and integrity was unmatched, he was a tireless advocate for the underdog, he never wavered, never flinched, when injustice occurred he was right there, his was the lone voice that called to us to listen to those who have been politically silenced, disenfranchised. The world was a better place because he was a United States Senator. So it is my loss as a Minnesotan, it is our loss as a country, but more importantly it is a loss that the entire world will feel.

Of all the politicians and leaders and role models, he shone like a beacon of hope. And now I really can't help but feel as though my general has died.

Emily Pryor
Wellesley College '03
Minnetonka, Minnesota

Another bright light in the universe is gone. I am saddened by the deaths of the Wellstone family members, the staffers and the pilots. Whenever Senator Wellstone was going to speak on C-SPAN, I made it a point to tune in. I had the privilege of living in St. Paul from 1991-1993 and met them at a Democratic political event. Although he was small in stature, his presence filled any room with a positive charisma. He was such a great example of what a representative of ALL the people could be. As a couple, their work touched many lives and to say they will be missed, is an understatement. The best tribute we can give them is to become active in our own communities and continue their work and speak for those who have no voice. My thoughts are with their family, their supporters and countless friends. We have all suffered a tremendous loss.

Pat Pounds
Los Angeles, Calif.

We are sending our condolences with deep regret and sadness...

Savka Todorovska
Skopje, Macedonia

I have been in mourning since I received word that we had lost such remarkable people. What finally made me let go and sob was the Star Tribune's account of the Hmong funeral for Wellstone at the State Capitol. They sang a song that was a signal to their deceased ancestors that they were sending the spirit of one of their family up to heaven. We all feel like Paul and Sheila are part of our family. Long may we honor all who were lost with our acts of courage and decency. To quote Emile Zola, "I am here to live aloud."

Anita L. Kozan
Minneapolis, Minn.

I first met Sen. Paul Wellstone when I was working as a reporter for a small daily newspaper in southern Minnesota and I was struck by his personable style and his passion for helping others. I didn't know then how much I would come to count on him later as I moved into feminist work. Paul is simply a political hero to those of us in the progressive community. He never waivered from his beliefs, voting his conscience no matter what the political consequences. He has given hope to so many people who are unrepresented or underrepresented in Washington. My hope is that his spirit will inspire others to carry on his voice for "the little guy."

Jill Pearson-Wood
Minneapolis, Minn.

A few days before Senator Wellstone died, the phone rang as I was putting my son to bed. Normally, I try to end such calls quickly, but when I learned that the caller was campaigning on behalf of Paul Wellstone, I told my son to wait. "I'll give money to Paul Wellstone any time, any place, anywhere," I told the caller. And I meant that.

I live in Maryland, not Minnesota, but I have always considered Paul Wellstone to be my senator. He represents me—and the values I hold dear—more than anyone else in the U.S. Congress. His passing—especially as our country braces for an immoral war—is a horrible, horrible thing.

I still remember meeting Paul in the late 1980s when we were both college professors in Minnesota. He was one of those activist professors who refused to live in an ivory tower. One of his claims to fame was chaining himself to the Carleton College library door--in protest of Carleton's investments in corporations doing business in South Africa. I admired that action deeply--just as I admired his incredible grassroots campaign for the U.S. Senate and his unswerving conviction that he could win--against nearly impossible odds. I left Minnesota in August 1990 to move to Guinea, West Africa. I remember cheering wildly when news of Paul's victory was broadcast over the BBC.

I send this message as a token of remembrance, as a gesture of mourning for a true American hero. God knows we need heroes like Paul Wellstone these days.

Elizabeth Schmidt
Baltimore, Md.

I was driving home on Friday and was listening to public radio. I rarely have the radio on anymore since one of my speakers is out and it sounds bad, but I was that day. They were speaking about Paul Wellstone in the past tense and I thought that was really odd. But then they shared with me that he had been killed, along with part of his family and several others.

I have heard of deaths of other "famous" people, like Princess Di, but they did not affect me this deeply. I have shed a tear on more than one occasion thinking out the loss of these great people. I think this comes from my close connection with Paul and Sheila Wellstone.

I voted for him twice before I left Minnesota, where I was born and raised. I met him several times while in school on field trips or at political functions or rallies. Both he and Sheila always took time to speak with you and always made me feel comfortable and confident talking with them. Each time I felt like I was really being heard.

Even though I have left the state, it has never left my heart. I will always be a Minnesota girl and when I vote here in California this year, I will again shed a tear that I will not be able to vote for Wellstone this year.

Sheila and Paul, you did so much for us and we are grateful. I have personally been affected by the good you have done in Washington and will always be glad for your presence there. My only condolence is that you are together. I hope that no matter where you have gone, you are able to continue doing good because that is what you were born to do.

May your souls have peace and may someone with your passion step up and take your place. Thank you for all your years of service. They have been noted and very appreciated. Love always,

Pamela Moos
Topanga, Calif.

I loved Paul Wellstone. I love being a Democrat. I got to shake Paul Wellstone's hand at the Women's Show 2002 in Mankato, Minn. We have always made a contribution to his campaign, and appreciate the fact that he took time to thank me and my mom-in-law for supporting him and for the causes he has worked so hard to support. He has always represented MY interests and those of my in-laws, who are full-time farmers. I appreciate how he touched my life by caring about women and domestic violence. As a member of Women of Today, I thank him, his wife and the entire Wellstone family for caring about the 'little' people who make Minnesota run.

Thanks for everything - may their memory be engraved in the hearts of all Minnesotans forever. In peace,

Stephanie Guyer
Mankato, Minn.

Senator Wellstone as well as his wife Sheila were both leading advocates for battered and sexually assaulted women, and unrelenting in pushing for better support for this nation's mentally ill. They were the spokespeople for the downtrodden and underrepresented citizens across the nation as well as all Minnesotans. Paul and Sheila Wellstone were the moral voice of America and the U.S. Senate. They were living examples of the ideals that patriotic citizens should strive to be.

Paul Wellstone approached his job with a passion almost unparalleled in the United States Senate. Often in the face of tremendous political pressure, Senator Wellstone remained true to his values as he fought for our most fundamental human and civil rights. He brought dignity to politics and served with courage and distinction. Women, men and families across the country had a champion in Senator Wellstone. As a senator, Paul never consulted a poll he voted from his heart and strong convictions. He was a poster man for what is good about America. This tragic loss will leave a difficult void to fill.

Denise Brown
Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation
Dana Point, Calif.

Twelve years ago, I was working at a small low-income housing project in Minneapolis, when this college professor who wanted to run for Congress showed up. He was fun, fast talking and believable. He bounced on his toes as he talked passionately about how everyone's voice counted. No other politican or would be politican had ever come to this disenfranchised community before and asked the people who lived there for their ideas. I witnessed and participated in an excitement that turned into a voter registration campaign and subsequently into the upset election of Paul Wellstone to the U.S. Senate.

Over the years as a volunteer and supporter I have witnessed this story repeated many times. Disillusioned people re-engaged in the political process. Silenced voices being heard. Paul and Sheila Wellstone made us believe that the impossible is possible. Working by their side, I came to believe that the grassroots do have power and that it is possible to take on the large corporate interests and actually win. I feel that many of us have been a part of something special and sacred. The struggle now is hold onto the hope that the Welltone's inspired and carry forward the work.

Sheri Smith
Saint Paul, Minn.

Yesterday morning on one of the Sunday talk shows, a so-called "objective" reporter referred to Paul as "a far-out liberal" with "extreme ideas." Is this how far we have fallen under Bush II? Since when is it "far-out" to put people before profits? Since when is it "extreme" to believe that the American government belongs to the American people and not multinational corporations? Paul understood, as perhaps no other U.S. Senator does, that the reason why the 2000 presidential election was so close was that voters accurately failed to discern much difference between Gush and Bore. Paul was different, God bless him. Not only did he actually believe what he said, he acted on those beliefs. This best tribute those of us who still dream of a just and fair society can pay to him is to finish what he started. Without his leadership and example, it will no longer be enough to sit on the sidelines and fire off the occasional angry letter to the editor. We must now organize and run for office ourselves in order to restore democratic ideals to the Democratic Party.

Jeff Callahan
Flat Rock, N.C.

Senator Wellstone was an outstanding human being. His vote against giving the President to initiate military action against Iraq was an example of political courage that has become almost non existent. His example made the "yes" votes of Democrats who know better stand out for even more for their cowardice and their committment to their own politcal careers at the expense of the Constitution they have sworn to uphold. The loss of Paul Wellstone is a tragedy for his family, friends, colleagues and a devestating blow for the country.

Harriet Gottfried
New York, N.Y.

I was not aware of the contributions that Senator Wellstone and his wife made on behalf of the rest of this small world before I saw the notice of his death in the newspaper. In these days of danger for freedom-lovers, I salute him and his wife for their courage and unselfish efforts. God bless them and God help us all.

Sue Elkevizth
Medina, Ohio

Because of Paul and Sheila, I have become interested and active in political happenings. Paul stood up for the very things that are near and dear to my heart. He was a huge friend of natural resources, and I believe without Paul we would have lost the battle on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Thanks Paul and Sheila for your determination and all of the things that you both fought for!

Stacy Salvevold

I was very deeply saddened to hear of the loss of the Wellstones and the people who were travelling with them last week. I was in tears most of the afternoon and during my drive home. The other time that this happened, was when I learned of the death of Rep. Mickey Leland.

I am a veteran legal aid attorney in Northern California. Sen. Wellstone was one of my heroes because he stood up for the same people that I work on behalf of in an incredibly hostile environment. Sen. Wellstone was also a political science professor, and is also a role model for me as a part-time college instructor. In short, news of the loss of Sen. Wellstone as an advocate for the disadvantaged in the United States Senate and as a teacher, has reminded me that I have much work to do, I am not entitled to feel discouraged, and if I believe myself to be getting weary, I will get plenty of rest as my heavenly reward. Amen, shalom, namaste.

Daphne L. Macklin
Sacramento, Calif.

I worked the phone bank for Paul's 1996 campaign, it was my first adventure into activism, sparking a crescendo of involvement and radicalism over time. I was always impressed with both Paul and Sheila because they made you feel so welcome and appreciated, they always used inclusive words and constantly affirmed that it wasn't about their celebrity but about the issues and the people. I have lost the catalyst of my initial political activism but their vision is etched on my heart.

Jessica Ann Shimmin
New York, N.Y.

I heard Sen. Wellstone speak this summer while interning in D.C. I remember his personality and energy—how he flung his arms around the room and was excited to see so many young democracts. I have always wanted to work in politics. However, Sen. Wellstone reminded me of why. He truly fought for the common person and what was right.

Tracy Sherman
St. Louis, Mo.

Just as we are reconciling ourselves to the lost of Patsy Mink, feminists/activists have been hit by the news of the deaths of Paul and Sheila Wellstone in a plane crash this morning in their beloved Minnesota. Paul Wellstone was living proof that good things come in small packages. His dedication to helping those who could not help themselves or were voiceless was legendary.

His willingness to stand up for what he believed—even if it was contrary to national or presidential opinion—made him, truly, a man of AND for the people. And at his side, sharing his beliefs and his dedication to humanity, was his beloved wife/partner in all senses of the word, Sheila. I am thankful that, at least, they were together even to the very end. I can only hope that when they arrived in Heaven, Patsy Mink was at the gates to greet them, and lead them over to the feminist/activist clouds where Bella, Barbara Jordan, Ginny Montes, Faith Evans, and so many of the good fighters are.

In his memory, I hope people get out to vote & help to elect more feminists & like-minded politicians ... so that his legacy & memory will live on.

—Rhoda M. Bradshaw
South Bend, Ind.

Paul Wellstone has long been my favorite champion in the Senate. He was a voice for so many around this country and the world, that did not have a voice. He always stood for what was right and never compromised his integrity and his values. He will be greatly missed, but we must carry on his spirit and passion for the causes that are so important to all of us; and that were so important to Senator Paul Wellstone and Sheila Wellstone.

—Kathy Curle
Garland, Texas

As I sit here tonight I am so grief stricken I am finding it difficult to think. Minnesota and the entire U.S. has suffered such a great loss today. Senator Wellstone was such a strong voice for women's rights and the environment who really stood up for what he believed and will be sadly missed. I was so hopeful that he may someday run for President, what a great person to lead our country! I would like to send my heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends; and wish them the best to get through such a tragedy.

—Carrie Bennett
Albion, Pa.

The loss of Sen. Wellstone and his family members is senseless and tragic and will be felt by countless thousands who had no other voice or advocate in the halls of the nation's capitol. Certainly, the good done by Sen. Wellstone will be a lasting tribute to his courage, honesty and will to take on the fight of the underserved. Our prayers are with the surviving family and with our nation today and in the days to come.

—Deborah E. Reed
Fredericksburg, Va.

A student at Carleton College, I had always heard of the inspiring and passionate political science professor that had touched the Carleton campus during his time here, but had never understood the profound effect he had on this state's politics. Being a native Southerner, I had never been that familiar with Minnesota state politics, but after setting foot on Carleton's campus, I found myself finding a sort of ally in the liberal senator. His messages and issues touched all of us, a breath of fresh air to me and others. Thank you Senator Wellstone, for all you gave the community here at Carleton and the state of Minnesota.

—Emily Schultz
Birmingham, Ala.

Our love, tears and thanks to Paul and Sheila Wellstone for their dedication and hard work for social and economic justice for all people. On behalf of the clients and staff of the National Center on Poverty Law.

—Wendy Pollack
National Center on Poverty Law
Chicago, Ill.

To Senator Wellstone, who fought the hard fight about many issues. He worked to fight poverty and hunger. Senator Paul Wellstone hoped to provide better access to health care, education and better housing.

To Sheila Wellstone, who made much of his work possible. They both understood the importance of family. In this sorrowful time, I hope we keep up the fight for the issues Senator Wellstone worked for.

—Leslie Weinberg
Stamford, Conn.

We all lost a wonderful friend and voice of reason today. Someone who really cared about people and their welfare, and worked hard for justice. Our sympathies and deepest condolences go out to their family and friends at this terrible time. May you find strength in each other to get through this time.

—Lauree Perr
Mesa, Ariz.

I had the privilege of meeting Senator Wellstone and his wife in Washington D.C. during my three-week stay in the U.S. in February 2000. In the frame of the program "Women in Politics -- Preparation for Elections" sponsored by USAID, 12 women from Macedonia, myself among them, visited the U.S. All of us were impressed by his personable style and his passion for helping others, particularly common people in fights for their rights. Both of them really cared about people and their welfare and worked hard for justice. My sympathies and deepest condolences to the Wellstone family.

—Golubka Necevska-Cvetanovska
President, Union of Women of the Liberal Party of Macedonia Skopje, Macedonia

You will be missed. God speed.

—Rita Zagarri
St. Louis, Mo.

I was devastated to learn of the tragic event that took place today.

Senator Wellstone was a decent and compassionate man and the everyday women, children and their families lost a true friend.

He changed the way people looked at politicians because he was a man that stood by his convictions. He and Sheila Wellstone had a great impact on lives of not only for the people of Minnesota but the whole country. We will always be grateful for what they did.

—Theresa Daniels
Lawrenceville, N.J.

I'd like to let the family as well as all friends how sad I am at the loss of Senator Wellstone and family. I'm in Springfield, Ohio and as soon as I heard I cried. This reminded me of a day when I was in junior high here and I heard that President John Kennedy had been killed. The same sadness of a nation losing a great man fell upon me again as I heard about Senator Wellstone. I knew him personally as a good friend, someone who took time to listen and care. I feel for Minnesota as well as the United States we have lost a wonderful citizen who cared for all of the world, not only Minnesota and the United States. He will be sadly missed. God bless and keep the rest of his family.

—Reverend Linda Sue Stampley
Springfield, Ohio

For twelve years I have followed Paul Wellstone and agreed with everything he said. I loved him, even though I never knew him personally. I loved him because he stood up for those who can't or don't know how to speak for themselves. He stood up for those who couldn't vote for him and he didn't care. There are so many times when I wanted to join his campaign, but didn't because I was too busy. Now it's too late and I regret it. I will miss him terribly along with his beautiful wife, Sheila. They were beautiful people who cared about others in a world where most people only care about money. Their sons, David and Mark, will always be in my heart too.

—Lynette Duellman
Winona, Minn.

We will all miss your courage but please know that you did indeed change the world.

—Marie Morgan
Houston, Texas

Senator Paul Wellstone has been my hero. I have admired him for being honest, principled and a man of strong convictions. I am truly devastated at his loss but we will never forget what he stood for and what he did for all of us. We have lost a great man and a true friend.

—Jo Ann Hughes
Chesterfield, Mo.

You will not be forgotten. Thank you.

—Leslie Pelzman
Oaklawn, Ill.

Paul and Sheila Wellstone gave us Minnesotans their devoted hearts and souls ... now it is our turn to honor them with our votes—whatever your choice! We in Minnesota are weeping tonight; but take comfort in reading together—Philippians 1:3 ... "I thank my God every time I remember you"!

P.S.: As one member of our SWMN 'Shelter House' Board—in Willmar, Minn.; we will miss you both! Our new shelter building project grant is still on your desk, to be acted upon—even now shrouded in black. We trust someone NOBLE will be chosen to fill your shoes and ACT! Peace,

—Larry-Michael Larson
Montevideo, Minn.

Senator Paul Wellstone will always be an inspiration. His "NO" vote against war in Iraq provided the courage that we all need to have. His caring and compassion for those with too little is exemplified in his voting record. I shall always remember the leadership and compassion that Paul and Shelia Wellstone provided for victims of domestic violence.

—Ann Timmer
Sun City West, Ariz.

I am very sorry for your loss. Paul was such a fighter for civil rights, women's rights, and health care for the masses. You have no idea how deeply his death reverberates. He was a genuine believer in the good of people that only some could actually see

—Kim Datz
Atlanta, Ga.

We lost two of our best today. All decent and true Americans are mourning this tragedy. The Wellstones were champions in every sense of the word. God Bless America. In tears,

—Margy Ohring
Round Hill, Va.

A personal loss is a tragic thing for the family; the loss of a legacy is a tragedy for the world. We all mourn the loss suffered by the family.

—Lea Jackson
Sanford, Fla.

My deepest sympathy to the Wellstone family. Sen. and Mrs. Wellstone will be truly missed. They did so much for the common man/women. Sen. Wellstone was a true American, not afraid to be in the minority in the Senate to stand by his beliefs and principals honest and passionate to the end. May peace be with his family.

— Leza Temple
Chicago, Ill.

I feel a profound loss at the sudden death of a REAL Senator who really cared for all the citizens of our country. His life in the reality of knowing that not all people were rich or had excellent health. Instead, his life was truly dedicated to real democracy, not just the technocrats.

—Suzanne M. Daniels
Chatham, Mass.

How tragic the loss of two such heroic people who have championed the cause of the disadvantaged and fought for the rights of all women, men and children. The nation mourns, the people mourn.
I can think of no one who will be worthy enough to replace Senator Wellstone.

—Roselle P. Luciano
Sea Cliff, N.Y.

I may be transplanted to California, but I'll always be a Minnesotan at heart. The loss of Paul Wellstone came as a blow to me. I may not have known him personally, but I know that Minnesota, and all of America, is at a loss without him. He was truly one of the great men of our time, a truly caring individual. I have no doubt that Sheila Wellstone was no less than his equal in all things. Both of them will be mourned. My deepest sympathies.

—Colin Clark
Long Beach, Calif.

Words cannot express the shock and grief I feel at the deaths of Paul and Sheila Wellstone.

With Senator Wellstone's passing, the Democratic party has lost its voice of conscience in the Senate. Those of us who value peace and truly care about the welfare of our fellow human beings have lost our most loyal, courageous and passionate advocate.

May we honor the memory of these two great Americans by carrying on their struggle for true dignity and equality for all people.

—Nell Corkin
Okemos, Mich.

Paul Wellstone was the first politician we have every made a campaign contribution to outside of the State of Georgia (our residency). We have watched his honest crusade with passion, encouragement, and pride. Paul was one of the few elected officials who spoke for the people and by the people. Who do we trust now? Most of us have given up on our "bought" or intimidated representatives. Our hope is that the memory of Paul Wellstone will serve to galvanize liberals in this country to take up the torch that he so gallantly carried for us and for many. We are deeply saddened for loss of Paul, his voice, and his impact on our country.

—John and Cassandra O'Neal
Tucker, Ga.

Dear Wellstone Family:

I'm deeply saddened by the untimely loss of truly GOOD PEOPLE, exemplified by Paul and Sheila Wellstone and daughter Marcia. It's as if I had lost a family member myself. I always admired Senator Wellstone's work, his wit and integrity, and thought of him as the Conscience of the Senate. Why just yesterday, I discovered that he had a 100% pro-environment voting record (League of Conservation Voters). We will miss him terribly, because these days it's almost impossible to find a man like Senator Wellstone, who has the brains to think different and the guts to express his thoughts freely no matter what the consequences might be. I'm so sorry for your loss, and for our loss as a nation of people who care about others.

—Ulla Sarmiento
Moorpark, Calif.

Sheila and Paul Wellstone were great patriots and zealous in their fight for the common person. We shall miss them greatly. He had the conviction and integrity to speak up for what he felt was right. He didn't wait to see how the polls looked, he knew what was right and acted accordingly.

—Marian Coole
Muncie, Ind.

Our world is a poorer place tonight, and the voiceless in our society have lost two of their strongest advocates.
Sheila and Paul were too rare, and too few in our world, but oh! They fought the good fight with grace and good humor! Peace to all,

—Pat & Leroy Lehman
Wichita, Ks.

Your tireless support of all the truly important issues that effect the common person will be sorely missed. My vote in November on your memory will be my way of continuing your support of those issues.

—Nancy E. Clausen
Manlius, N.Y.

We have all lost one of the greatest advocates, and the most beautiful voices, of our age ... my heart goes out to his family ... God bless us all, in Senator Wellstone's name ...

—Helen Ladner
Colorado Spring, Colo.

To the Wellstone sons and family members:

It is a terrible tragedy that this great family, which epitomized the strength of citizenry in government should perish in this fashion. Paul Wellstone had the courage of his convictions and did not act from selfish and self-promoting positions but worked tirelessly for those who did not have a strong voice. He will be sorely missed in the political arena.

—Adele Macmillan
East Hampton, N.Y.

I wonder whether liberals in more progressive states and cities can relate to we few, fairly isolated souls who live our lives in the heart of conservative territory. For this liberal, Paul Wellstone was a hero and a symbol, constantly reminding me that numbers do not matter. What matters is doing what's right. It was a comfort and an inspiration just knowing Paul Wellstone was in the world.

I am sorry that I cannot speak more about Sheila Wellstone. I am sorry that I speak only of politics. But I am most sorry that I have this occasion to comment at all.

—James Talle
Salina, Ks.

My love, my respect, my soul are with you. Thank you for all you have done for all of us, friend.

—Luis Freire
Milford, Mass.

I was fortunate enough to hear Senator Wellstone speak in a hearing this summer concerning violence against women and the workplace. The only Senator present for the majority of the hearing, Senator Wellstone's attention and expression showed his enormous concern and empathy for women who are victims of violence, and his incredible dedication to ending that violence. America has lost a courageous and compassionate leader.

—Sharyn Rothstein
Avon, Conn.

Dear Wellstone family and friends: Please accept my heartfelt sympathy for your loss. I cannot even imagine losing three precious people all at once. I will be thinking about and praying for you. Warmest regards,

—Wendy Jones, NOW Member
San Francisco, Calif.

For me, Senator Wellstone was, and has been since 1990, a hero. He did what was 'right' for the people of this country without regard to possible political consequences. We need more with his courage.

My heart is heavy. Respectfully,

—Roberta J. Galli
Hopkinsville, Ky.

We all lost a wonderful friend and voice of reason today. Someone who really cared about people and their welfare, and worked hard for justice. Our sympathies and deepest condolences go out to their family and friends at this terrible time. May you find strength in each other to get through this time.

—Lauree Perr
Mesa, Ariz.

On behalf of Missouri NOW, we want you to know that Senator Paul Wellstone will be greatly missed. He fought for the under-represented and the unrepresented and stood up for what he believed.

—Carolyn Landry, Missouri NOW Co-President
St. Charles, Mo.

Paul and Sheila Wellstone left this world and this country better places because of their having lived and worked here. My hope is that this world and this country and each of us can learn from them to do as they have done.

—Isa Dempse
Freedom, Calif.

In Memoriam: Paul and Sheila Wellstone

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