NEWS

Hyde leaves solid legacy of public service

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Legislators don’t amass lengthy tenures unless they exhibit incredible leadership skills, and few public servants exerted as much influence on Capitol Hill as did Henry Hyde.

For 32 years, Hyde represented the 6th District from Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. Failing health finally compelled him to retire earlier this year from the work he obviously cherished so much.

Hyde was laid to rest last week after he died Nov. 29 at the age of 83. Friends and colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans, recalled a lawmaker with a sharp mind, savvy political instincts and a gracious manner.

Hyde was an ardent supporter of the anti-abortion movement. In 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

During the impeachment proceedings of former President Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999, Hyde played a key role in forming and presenting the case to members of the U.S. Senate. While it was revealed that Hyde engaged in an adulterous affair in his 40s, he reminded people that Clinton was being prosecuted for committing perjury, not for marital infidelity.

But even as a committed conservative, Hyde gained a reputation for reaching across the aisle and working with Democrats on many occasions. He was known for rising above the political name-calling to effect change.

Hyde’s presence in the halls of Congress and throughout the 6th District will be greatly missed. It could be a long time until we see a statesman of his character again.