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Former US Sen., foreign policy expert Richard Lugar dies at 87

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17: Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) delivers an opening statement during a hearing about the recent popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa March 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns said that in light of the recent uhevals, the United States should do what it can to support the transition from authoritarian rule to democratic governance, support the emerging governments' economic reforms and continue to urge peace between Israel and the Palestinians. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Former longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a foreign policy expert who helped spur the dismantling and securing of thousands of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet states, has died. He was 87.

The Lugar Center issued a statement saying Lugar died early Sunday at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia.

Lugar was a Rhodes Scholar who was first elected to the Senate in 1976, after eight years as Indianapolis mayor.

He was a generally loyal conservative but lost his bid for a seventh Senate term in the 2012 GOP primary after attacks over his reputation for cooperation with Democrats and friendliness with President Barack Obama.

Lugar gained little traction with a 1996 run for president, but he focused on the threat of terrorism years ahead of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Several political figures have released statements regarding Lugar’s passing

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb:

“The world weeps alongside Indiana after just learning we lost one of our best, ever.

“As an always faithful servant to the highest ideals in every walk of his incredible life, Richard Lugar ran the family farm, charted a new innovative course for Indiana’s capital city, and devoted a record six terms as a U.S. Senator to making the world a more prosperous and peaceful place.

“He was an officer and gentleman, father and faith leader, a Mayor and Senator, a diplomat and legendary role model to millions.

“Janet and I are keeping Mrs. Lugar and their wonderful family in our prayers and ask all those touched by his service to join us.”

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett:

“Today, Indianapolis mourns the loss of a native Hoosier and American statesman who changed the face of our city and embodied the heart of our nation.

Senator Lugar’s career is rightfully characterized by his time in the United States Senate and his outstanding leadership on matters of foreign security and international diplomacy. But he began his public life as a member of the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners, before becoming a visionary mayor who embraced the transformative potential of local government. He understood that progress could only occur when good ideas and good people came together — from all sides of the political landscape. And he demonstrated a commitment to country over party, community over self, that is almost unparalleled in today’s polarized world.

It is my hope that Senator Lugar’s legacy will live on within the highest echelons of public policy as well as the corridors of city-county government. We owe that to him.

Steph and I join the people of Indianapolis in expressing our deepest condolences to Charlene and the Lugar family during this difficult time.”

Purdue University President and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels:

“Words are hard to come by right now.  Dick Lugar was not just the finest public servant I will ever know, he was the finest person.  He embodied all we can hope for in our leaders: brilliance of mind, purity of motive, stainless in character, tireless in the pursuit of duty. Incomparably knowledgeable about the world, he was first and always a patriot, utterly dedicated to the security and wellbeing of his fellow Americans. His voice is now silent, but he is still with us.  Indianapolis is a thriving and vibrant city because of him.  The world is safer from nuclear danger because of him.  And so many of us, while falling far short of the standards he set, are vastly better people because of him.”

Indy Chamber President and CEO Michael Huber:

“Servant leadership is the philosophy of putting others before yourself and leading by example. Richard Lugar was the embodiment of this philosophy, living not one, but multiple lives of service as a businessman, community leader, one of America’s greatest mayors, and as a transformational U.S. Senator who helped make our world a much safer place. Today, the Indy Chamber honors the life and legacy of Richard Lugar. May our region and our world seek to follow his example.”

https://twitter.com/VP/status/1122556455540928514

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