Profiles of Character

John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in courage portrayed eight U. S. senators who had the courage and integrity to take great political and personal risk to put the national interest above the personal and political gain. During my years in Congress, I witnessed similar individuals, whose character and integrity not only represented the best in our political system but helped to shape my sense of public duty, highlighted in my book.

As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tom Foley portrayed congeniality, civility and character that drew respect and admiration across the political spectrum. Our Founding Fathers would simmer with pride — a Speaker who built trust and bridged the differences, which is solely missed these days. My chapter, “A higher Calling,” highlights the contrasts to Tom Foley’s honorable service to that of successor, Newt Gingrich, who ushered in an era of combativeness, insults, ripping apart bipartisanship, obstructionism that has poisoned today’s political culture. From my first day as a congressman, Tom Foley became my mentor and also role model that inspired me to do more and serve with honor.

His two book titles speak volumes about Mark Hatfield’s political courage: Between a Rock and Hard Place and Against the Grain – Reflections of a rebel Republican. Most notable was his opposition to the Vietnam War that had him at odds with the Republican Party, at a time when he was Richard Nixon’s top choice as Vice President. His conscience would not have him alter his position, the ultimate sacrifice for doing what’s right. He was highly regarded in the U.S. Senate and renowned nationally as a leader with a deep faith. Carolyn and I were in a small prayer group with the Hatfields during our years in Congress and since.

The former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate, at the time of his death at age 57, was described by the Massachusetts newspaper, Independence “as the country’s most straight forward, far-sighted and utterly honest…. setting an unparalleled example of integrity, candor and commitment.”

We came to Congress, part of the Watergate Class of ’74, and were closely associated, including being on a fact-finding trip to Ethiopia in 1976. We had an unexpected meeting with the so-called “butcher of Addis Ababa” who Paul confronted about human rights abuses, that was courageous but risky. His campaign for president is noted for adopting a pro-business doctrine at odds with his party and organized labor, not catering to his primary base but rising to a higher calling.

It is rare that someone in the House of Representatives becomes a legend in his own time – this was Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress. It was a cause deeply imbedded in his early life, at age 16 when he was sent to a labor camp in Hungary. He eventually escaped and joined a resistance movement headed by Raoul Wallenberg that helped to usher thousands of Jewish citizens to safety. We had a shared interest in human rights. At the time, I chaired the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights, but Tom Lantos was the authentic voice and beacon light that was reflected in capitols around the world. He was the conscience of our foreign policy, an advocate who confronted suppressive regimes, and he provided the moral authority unmatched during his service to our country.

It’s been a century since a President’s cabinet secretary was also a cowboy celebrity. Malcom Baldrige’s hobby was steer roping that set him up to win prize money at rodeos, but ultimately, he succumbed to internal injuries riding a horse in competition on July 25, 1987. Secretary Baldrige’s vision and managerial style was way beyond what we generally see at the bureaucratic Department of Commerce. Surprisingly, I received an invitation to have breakfast at the Secretary’s office to discuss international trade. We were entirely in sync which let to meeting monthly. A Republican cabinet member outreached to a young congressman that led to many accomplishments. A contrast to today’s Trump Administration and the House Democrats who are hardly in communication on any issue.

A former Republican Governor and U.S. Senator, Daniel J. Evans legacy is preserving Washington state’s precious natural resources. A rare moment of bipartisanship, bringing together the Northwest senators and congressmen, then persuading committee chairmen and the Senate leadership to send the most landmark environmental legislation to the President Ronald Reagan’s desk. At a time, local hostility to passing such legislation made his task all the more daunting. Yet, thanks to Daniel Evans, future generations can enjoy his accomplishments: The Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, the Mt Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument Act, The Washington Park Wilderness Act, Bowerman Basin Wildlife National Refuge Act, and much more.

No one had more influence on my life than Doug Coe. He had no position, no title, never became a household name, yet Doug was well known and highly regarded by ten U.S. presidents, Congressional leaders, foreign dignitaries, prominent American and international businessmen. A worthy glimpse of Doug Coe, who presided over the National Prayer Breakfast for fifty years, appeared in a New Yorker article, by Peter J Boyer, “his admirers describe him in terms that suggest a near-mystical visionary with a powerful personal magnetism.” Doug’s focus was on the teachings and principles of Jesus Christ, which he felt transcended all faiths, writing “Peace between nations depends on goodwill between individuals.”

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was among a group of Oligarchs who acquired state assets and immense wealth during the Boris Yeltsin era in Russia. In his mid-30s, Khodorkovsky was head of Russia’s largest oil company and listed among its wealthiest, but he had a higher calling. In 2012, Vanity Fair magazine reported “Khodorkovsky swore off his absolute faith in wealth, just as he had sworn off his absolute faith in Communism.” Devoted to social justice and democratic norms, he dared to confront Vladimir Putin about corruption in the Kremlin, who then had him arrested, put into a courtroom cage, sent to prison for ten years. At APCO Worldwide, I represented this man, as he became a symbol of human rights and moral courage worldwide.

Another Russian oligarch, Vladimir Gusinsky, acquired a media empire overnight and became a champion of free and independent reporting in the post-Communist era. Featured in The New Yorker (February 2b8, 1994) by David Remnick, who referred to Gusinsky as “Citizen Kane, Russia’s first and biggest media mogul and, as a result, is deeply embroiled in Kremlin politics.” That is what got him in trouble with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who had no tolerance for objective reporting and criticism. He had Gusinsky arrested, put in prison, seized his media assets and forced to leave the country. I accompanied Gusinsky’s meetings with Washington Post, Newsweek, the Newseum, observing his embracing Western values, which he stood up for and paid a heavy price.

Women have been dominant in my political life. It began when I served as an intern to Senator Maurine Neuberger (D-OR), one of two women in the U. S. Senate at the time. A few years later, elected to Congress to succeed the legendary Julia Butler Hansen; then replaced by the exuberant Jolene Unsoeld. In 1992, the “Little Mom in Tennis Shoes,” Patty Murray, ended my political career. But what stands out is Margery Kraus, founder of APCO Worldwide, who led a start-up consulting firm to become a global leader in public affairs and strategic communication. At APCO Worldwide for thirty years, I saw up close Margery’s phenomenal business skills and many accomplishments, but also how she treated everyone like family, a rare blend that led to APCO receiving numerous awards for the best place to work.

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