- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Reaction to the death of retired Arkansas congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt, one of two people to beat former President Bill Clinton in his political career:

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“John Paul Hammerschmidt was one of the true pioneers of the Arkansas Republican Party. All of us who have ever been elected in Arkansas as Republicans owe this statesman our deepest respect. But JPH was far more than a Republican leader. He was the purest of public servants, who created the template for serving his constituents and living his life with impeccable integrity and honor. He was the most unselfish and self-effacing person I’ve ever known in politics. If he had an ego, it was the best kept secret in Washington where there are no secrets…

“In my first race, I was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Houston, the year that JPH was retiring. Reporters came to him and asked his opinion of the news of the day. Knowing that I could use the publicity since I was a newcomer, he turned to me seated behind him and told the reporters they should ask me. Not before or since have I ever known of a political figure who would take himself off the stage to make room for someone else.” - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

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“I am saddened by the passing of my longtime friend and Arkansas legend, Congressman Hammerschmidt. He will always be remembered for his remarkable and strong leadership. Even though he was elected by only a portion of Arkansas as a Member of Congress, he was a leader for all of Arkansas and recognized nationally as such. He was a trailblazer and will be missed greatly.” - Lt. Governor Tim Griffin, a former U.S. Congressman for Arkansas.

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“The Congressman has served as a mentor and friend to not only me, but countless Arkansans. His challenge to public officials that they should ‘represent all Arkansans, not just the ones who voted for you’ is a testament to his character and words that help guide me daily.” - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

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“John Paul Hammerschmidt was an icon of Arkansas and Washington politics. For years, he was the lone Republican member of Arkansas’s congressional delegation, representing the Third Congressional District for 13 terms. As such, he balanced his conservative convictions with a unique ability to work across party lines and accomplish great things for the people of Arkansas. His was the voice heard most clearly and often in the bipartisan effort to preserve the Buffalo as the first National River in the United States…

“Congressman Hammerschmidt was also a leader on transportation issues, helping to build Arkansas’s roads and highways and making the state more competitive nationally. On a personal note, John Paul was a mentor of mine. I was privileged to hold his seat in Congress, and I called on his wise counsel and advice countless times. I will miss him greatly. The state has lost a true statesman and a good man.” - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

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“A proud son of Harrison, John Paul was a decorated World War II pilot who represented Arkansas in Congress for 26 years. His contributions to Arkansas’s infrastructure system were invaluable and his legacy lives on in highways, waterways, and bridges across our state…

“John Paul Hammerschmidt was also a Republican leader for Arkansas in an era when not too many others were. His leadership and commitment to the Republican Party of Arkansas paved the way for every Republican elected official in Arkansas today. Arkansas is a better place because of his service to our state.” - U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas.


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