- The Washington Times - Monday, August 18, 2014

President Obama praised the “fiercely independent spirit” of former Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords, who died Monday in Washington.

Jeffords was 80 years old.

A longtime Republican, Jeffords spent more than three decades in Congress, first as a member of the House and later as a senator. He made waves in 2001 when he left the Republican party and became an independent.

“During his more than 30 years in Washington, Jim never lost the fiercely independent spirit that made Vermonters, and people across America, trust and respect him,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Whatever the issue — whether it was protecting the environment, supporting Americans with disabilities, or whether to authorize the war in Iraq — Jim voted his principles, even if it sometimes meant taking a lonely or unpopular stance. Vermonters sent him to Washington to follow his conscience, and he did them proud.”

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