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NEBRASKA SAYS FAREWELL TO J. JAMES EXON - STATESMAN
Posted on Tuesday, June 14 @ 01:23:57 CDT by van

News and Views The General Manager of Lincoln radio station KLIN, Mark Halverson, invited me to prepare and record a "guest editorial" to be aired on that station. Several subjects were prominent in the minds of many of us at the time, but none more so than the passing of J. James Exon, former governor and United States Senator from Nebraska. On 15 June 2005, the people of the Cornhusker State will set aside any differences they might have for a short time and bit farewell to a man who, though he attained national prominence, preferred to be known simply as "Jim."

Nebraska has lost a great man. Our country has lost a statesman and many of us have lost a good friend. J. James Exon served in public office for 26 of the 83 years of his life and rose from the rank of Sergeant in the Army to United States Senator serving on the Armed Services Committee. On the way, he served two terms as governor of our state.

Many will remember Jim Exon as the man who changed the Democratic Party in Nebraska. Others will remember him from his days as an "O" street businessman. Some will remember him as a jovial fellow who could spend time with the boys and play a mean game of poker.

His wife Pat will remember him as a loving husband who put his family and marriage above all else. Even at the height of his powerful political career, he never became "too important" to take time to be dad and granddad to his family members.

Jim was a tough campaigner, but he never engaged in the mean and hateful tactics which have crept into today's political races...he didn't need to. From the very first race he ran as a candidate to the last race for re-election as a United States Senator, he treated everyone, whether a supporter or an opponent with a special measure of friendliness. Even when he disagreed with an opponent or an elected official here in Nebraska or in Washington, D.C. he could do so without being disagreeable. He won every race fair and square. That earned him the respect of both Democrats and Republicans alike.

J. James Exon promoted "Nebraska the Good Life." He departed that Good Life for a Better One a few days ago...... and he will be missed. When his record is tallied up it can be said of him, Well done good and faithful public servant, your example in life and in politics is worthy of the emulation of all who serve and all who aspire to serve.

Exon's body will lie in state in the rotunda of the Nebraska State Capitol Building from noon until 8:00 p.m today, 14 June 2005. The funeral for the former governor and United States Senator will be held at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, also in the Capitol Rotunda.

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