There has been an outpouring of emotion and praise mourning the loss of Senator George S. McGovern. While he was a liberal Democrat, he is being recognized as a great humanitarian by both Republicans and Democrats. From President Obama and Vice President Biden, to the Secretary General of the United Nations and Senator Bob Dole, all are mourning the loss of a politician who, in the end, rose above politics.
Senator McGovern was also a much beloved member of our law firm serving in the capacity of a Senior Policy Advisor, working with us on behalf of food, agriculture and nutrition clients. Our conference room is, and will remain, the McGovern Conference Room. When the law firm moved to the Watergate last year, McGovern said: “I sure hope no one breaks into my office this time.”
I was the Senator’s senior counsel on nutrition policy, his friend and advisor for 40 years. My statement on the passing of George McGovern follows:
“George McGovern had an extraordinary, full life, and his impact will be felt for years to come. He was a decorated WWII bomber pilot, Member of Congress, the first Director of Food for Peace (under President Kennedy), South Dakota’s Senator for eighteen years, the Democratic Nominee for President in 1972, U.N. Ambassador and so much more.
“His most enduring legacy, however, will be in the fight against hunger here at home and around the world. As was noted by President Bill Clinton when he awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, George McGovern was one of the great humanitarians of our time. McGovern made a commitment to the issue of fighting hunger in the 1960s and inspired many others into action. Together with Bob Dole, his friend and colleague, they expanded the food stamp program, the school lunch and breakfast programs, and created the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
“After the Senate, McGovern’s leadership continued through his work at the United Nations and his own personal standing. When President Clinton launched the McGovern-Dole International School Nutrition Program in 2000 with a $300 million commitment, he said “George, it’s good to see that you are still at it.” In many ways, McGovern was the grandfather of President Obama’s Feed the Future effort and the G8’s emphasis on food and agriculture.
“Today, 31 million children will participate in the school lunch program, 10 million will have a school breakfast, 9 million mothers and children will participate in the WIC program and 46 million people will participate in the food stamp program. Internationally, millions of the poorest children will have one meal at school and will attend school in order to receive that meal. For the girls, it will change their lives. George McGovern is responsible for all of this, along with the nutrition labels on our foods.
“George McGovern’s legacy on food and nutrition is without equal and will be felt all over the world for many years to come. He was the man who fed the world.”