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Editorial
 
The Legacy of Henry Bellmon
Friday, 10.09.2009, 12:58pm (GMT-5)

Oklahoma has lost a true legend. On Sept. 29, former
governor and U.S. Senator Henry Bellmon died at the age
of 88. He was a friend and mentor, but the legacy of this
extraordinary man extends to every corner of this state,
and beyond.
Henry Bellmon was not only a proud Oklahoman, but in
many ways embodied Oklahoma -- tough-minded, hardworking,
honest, patriotic, a true son of the land. He was a
man who preferred deeds to words, actions to discussions.
Most important, Gov. Bellmon was an outstanding leader
and public servant who always sought to better this state
he so dearly loved. From the State Capitol to Washington,
D.C., Henry Bellmon served his constituents with quiet
dignity and an even hand.
Moreover, he exemplified a rugged individualism for
which our state is justifiably celebrated. Through two
terms as governor and two terms in the U.S. Senate, Henry
Bellmon was a consensus builder whose convictions
transcended partisanship and ideology.
He made difficult decisions, many of which weren’t
particularly popular or politically expedient. But Henry
Bellmon, a farmer by trade, was never one to take the
easy road. He graduated high school a year ahead of his
class and earned a diploma from Oklahoma A&M College
in seven semesters. He served his country with honor
in World War II before returning to his native state.
For me, Gov. Bellmon was a personal hero and an inspiration.
He demonstrated that politics did not have to
succumb to the rancor and showmanship that can so often
mar the process. I am grateful to have been friends with
him, and I am better for having known him. All Oklahomans,
in fact, are better for having benefited from his
strong and steady leadership.
Henry Bellmon was truly one of a kind. Our thoughts
and prayers are with his family and friends during this
time.
Brad Henry

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