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The likes of Robert C. Byrd might never be seen again

July 02, 2010

Like him or not, U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., will go down as one of the icons of the United States Senate. Byrd died Monday morning at the age of 92, after having served 51 years in the Senate.

The Associated Press reported that he was the longest serving member of Congress, ever. Byrd was Senate majority leader for several years, until he took a leadership position on the Senate Appropriations Committee. From that position, he pumped millions of dollars into his beloved home state.

To those outside of West Virginia, Byrd sometimes came to symbolize all that's wrong with big government, as he unapologetically funneled what seemed to be unlimited amounts of federal money and jobs into West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the U.S.

To West Virginians, though, he was a larger-than-life figure, seen as equal parts statesman and savior. And it's easy to understand why. In Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties alone, Byrd's fingerprints are on at least 10 federal projects resulting in 3,200 jobs. He was a one-man economic engine.

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To say that Sen. Byrd will be sorely missed in his home state is the understatement of the year. The fact is, we might never again see a politician quite like the senior senator from West Virginia.

May he rest in peace.

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