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Area Officials React To Death Of Senator John McCain

Senator McCain, General Petraeus, Senator Graham, Senator Lieberman, Senator Gillibrand at ISIF Headquarters in Kabul
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Senator McCain, General Petraeus, Senator Graham, Senator Lieberman, Senator Gillibrand at ISIF Headquarters in Kabul

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York:

“As you go through life, you meet few truly great people. John McCain was one of them. His dedication to his country and the military were unsurpassed, and maybe most of all, he was a truth teller - never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare. The Senate, the United States, and the world are lesser places without John McCain.

“Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him.”

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat:

"We will never forget the unparalleled courage, heart and service of John McCain. My thoughts are with his family as they mourn this great loss, but also as they celebrate his incredible life. It was a privilege to serve beside John in the Senate, and he will be so greatly missed."

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat:

“Our country lost an American hero and true public servant tonight. John McCain was the epitome of grit and grace, and his selfless service will continue to inspire this nation to choose courage over cowardice, and country over party. From his tremendous bravery as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, to his spirited and steadfast leadership in Congress, Senator McCain will forever be remembered for his numerous contributions to our nation. I was honored to travel and work closely with him as a member of the Armed Services Committee, and count him as a friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones as they grieve this loss. Let us honor his memory, and may this maverick rest in peace.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat:

"John McCain was fiercely devoted to his family, his constituents, and his country. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time. As a nation, we all share in the sense of emptiness his passing has left behind.

"John McCain and I disagreed on many things, and sometimes quite forcefully. But even when we disagreed, I always respected that his heart was focused on doing what he thought was best for the American people.

"Democrat or Republican, foreign leader or President of the US, John McCain would go toe to toe with anyone to fight for what he thought was right. At a time when character & integrity are under siege, we all mourn the loss of a public servant who lived with courage & conviction.

"I count it as a blessing to have had the honor to serve with John McCain in the Senate and on the Armed Services Committee. If there ever was a true American patriot, John was that patriot. I’ll miss his strength and his maverick spirit, but most of all I’ll miss his kindness."

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, Democrat:

“John McCain had courage and patriotism flowing through his veins, and our nation drew strength and inspiration from that lifeblood,” said Senator Markey. “Whether it was the courage of a soldier during war, the courage of a legislator to reach across the aisle, or the courage of a husband and father to face a diagnosis with dignity and resolve, John McCain was a hero. I was honored to work with John on legislation to end the practice of extraordinary rendition. He understood from the most personal of experiences that torture is illegal and ineffective and that our nation’s moral standing should never be compromised by such barbarism. From global warming to health care, John McCain put country ahead of party and served as an example to legislators everywhere. We will forever miss his heroism, his integrity, and his endless devotion to country. I mourn the death of this once and always maverick. My prayers are with his family and loved ones.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent:
"John McCain was an American hero, a man of decency and honor and a friend of mine. He will be missed not just in the U.S. Senate but by all Americans who respect integrity and independence. Jane and I send our deepest condolences to his family."
Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, Democrat:

“Senator John McCain defined public service, honor, and love of country.  What an extraordinary career he had.  What a loss his passing is for Arizona and America.  Godspeed, Senator.  You will be sorely missed.”

New York Congressman John Faso, Republican of the 19th District:

“John McCain was an American patriot, dedicated to our constitution and the ideals it represents. His courage as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton will be long remembered. America has lost a dedicated and loyal son. May he rest in peace.”

New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of the 18th District:

“John McCain will be remembered as one of the most committed public servants in American history. From his heroic actions during the Vietnam War - to his tenure as a respected member of the United States Congress, John McCain personified all of the best characteristics of what it is to be an American and a good representative of the people. He was a tough, thoughtful, principled patriot who spent his entire life serving others.

“Especially in times of division, our nation hurts for leaders like Senator McCain. John knew that Americans do best when we work across all of our lines of difference towards a common good. That’s a lesson we’d all do well to remember.

“Randy and I will pray for Senator McCain and his family and ask the Hudson Valley to join us in keeping them all in our thoughts.”

New York Congressman Paul Tonko, Democrat of the 20th District:

"My heart goes out to Senator John McCain's family. His more than 60 years of service to our country is something we should all aspire to and hold in the highest regard. Our politics rarely aligned but he always did what he thought was best for our nation. Rest in peace, Senator."

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Republican of the 21st District:

"Senator John McCain was the embodiment of service and sacrifice above self. His indomitable spirit taught his fellow Americans to never waver in their commitment to our country.

"Today, we mourn the loss of a true giant. History will remember and honor John McCain. My thoughts and prayers — and those of the Nation — are with the McCain family at this very difficult time."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrat:

"John McCain gave his life in service to this nation, exemplifying all that we admire in a hero. He was a warrior and a statesman, in the old-fashioned sense.  In his own way, he spoke truth to power. He criticized Republicans and Democrats alike. John McCain criticized all of us. Because in his mind, those of us who are privileged to hold public office can never work hard enough for the people of this country. He was right."

New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Republican:

"I am saddened to learn of the death of Senator John McCain, an extraordinary public servant and an authentic American hero. He was once the Republican nominee for President, but for him it was never about Democrats or Republicans.  He was a maverick who did what he thought was right and always put his country above his party.

"A Captain in the Navy, McCain was shot down over Vietnam, endured unspeakable torture, and spent five long years as a prisoner of war. He even refused his captors' offers to go home because it wasn’t his turn. 

"Like many, I just assumed McCain would be in Washington forever, using the power of his vote to act as the conscience of the Senate and do right by the American people. 

"He faced a brain cancer diagnosis the same way he lived his life - with courage, with toughness, and probably with a little of that good old fashioned McCain impatience too.

"Tonight, we have lost a true giant of our politics and of our country. Rest In Peace John S. McCain, a grateful nation salutes you."

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.