On Sunday, longtime GOP Sen. Bob Dole died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 98.
Utah leaders expressed their condolences later that day, some taking to the internet to share stories or lessons learned from the senator. And on Monday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox ordered flags across the state to be lowered to honor Dole.
Dole’s political career started in the 1950s as a Kansas representative. He would go on to represent Kansas in Congress for 36 years, serving four terms in the U.S. House before winning a Senate race in 1968. He launched three runs for the White House, his last in 1996 when he lost to former President Bill Clinton.
A World War II veteran, Dole was shot in the right arm while fighting in Italy, leaving him with lasting injuries that prevented him from shaking hands, and likely shaping his political career. His efforts in Congress would later spur the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“When I think of the greatest generation, I think of Senator Bob Dole — a man who dedicated his life to serving our country,” wrote Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.
Dole endorsed Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, and at a rally in 2014 told the crowd “I want him to run again.”
When I think of the greatest generation, I think of Senator Bob Dole—a man who dedicated his life to serving our country. Rest In Peace, my friend. Ann and I will be praying for Elizabeth, their family, and loved ones.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 5, 2021
Retired Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who served alongside Dole for nearly two decades, called him “a model of humility, hard work, and reliable statesmanship, and I am incredibly grateful to have called him a friend,” in a statement Sunday.
Hatch sponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act with Dole, and called it “a shining example of our ongoing commitment to equality for persons with disabilities.”
"As the Senate Majority Leader, he was a model of humility, hard work, and reliable statesmanship, and I am incredibly grateful to have called him a friend.”— Orrin G. Hatch Foundation (@OrrinHatch) December 5, 2021
Utah Sen. Mike Lee took to Twitter Sunday, sharing a story of the time Dole gave him a keychain with his engraved signature that would end up being one of Lee’s “most prized possessions.”
“Americans are fortunate to have been blessed by Bob Dole’s lifetime of military and government service,” Lee wrote.
2/2 Americans are fortunate to have been blessed by Bob Dole’s lifetime of military and government service. Today, my heart and prayers are with the Dole family.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 5, 2021
One of Lee’s opponents in the upcoming 2022 election also expressed condolences on Twitter Sunday. Evan McMullin, who as an independent won more than 21% of the presidential vote in Utah in 2016, called Dole a “great patriot ... who humbly sacrificed in all respects for our nation — in war, in public service, and in private life.”
America has lost another great patriot in Bob Dole, who humbly sacrificed in all respects for our nation – in war, in public service, and in private life. He put country over party to uphold our fundamental rights and defend our humanity. My sincere condolences to his family.— Evan McMullin 🇺🇸 (@EvanMcMullin) December 5, 2021
Utah’s governor called Dole “an American hero and exemplary public official.”
“Our country could desperately use more selfless servants like him,” Cox wrote on Twitter.
Representing Utah’s District 3, Rep. John Curtis called Dole “one of our greatest. His valiant service from the military through Congress leaves a legacy for generations to come.”
Bob Dole was one of our greatest. His valiant service from the military through Congress leaves a legacy for generations to come.— Rep. John Curtis (@RepJohnCurtis) December 5, 2021
He was a humble servant, committed to better the lives of all Americans. https://t.co/o1JGPxOj3q https://t.co/b7EksyZLot pic.twitter.com/pI3BL7UBdG
Salt Lake County Councilwoman and former Utah gubernatorial candidate Aimee Winder Newton offered her “deepest condolences to his family.”
On Sunday, President Joe Biden ordered White House flags and other public buildings to be flown at half staff. Biden also released a statement calling Dole a friend, war hero and “American statesman.”
“Bob was an American statesman like few in our history. A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation. And to me, he was also a friend whom I could look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to settle frayed nerves,” Biden said. “I will miss my friend. But I am grateful for the times we shared, and for the friendship Jill and I and our family have built with Liddy and the entire Dole family.”