by Vito Lucia, The Chicago Times

December 5, 2021

TOPEKA, KS — Bob Dole, former Republican senator from Kansas died on Sunday at the age of 98.

Dole’s death was announced by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation following a fight with lung cancer.  In February 2021, Dole stated that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and was receiving treatment.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep . . . At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.” according to Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s statement.

Dole, a native of Russell, Kansas, served in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, serving as Senate Majority Leader twice.

He influenced tax policy, foreign policy, farm and nutrition programs, and disabled rights, enshrining anti-discrimination safeguards in the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment, education, and public services.

In the 1996 presidential election, he was the Republican nominee, but he lost to Democrat Bill Clinton, who went on to serve a second term.  In the 1976 U.S. presidential election, Dole was the Republican vice-presidential nominee to Gerald Ford.

Dole previously served as a Republican member of the Kansas state legislature from 1951 to 1953.

Dole was born into a working-class household on July 22, 1923.  During the Great Depression, Dole and his family lived in their basement in order to rent their house to oilfield workers.

“As a young man in a small town, my parents taught me to put my trust in God, not government, and never confuse the two.” he once said, referring to his religious upbringing.

During World War II, he left the University of Kansas to enlist in the army. In 1945, Dole was wounded in combat during the Italian campaign.  Dole’s wounds left him paralyzed in his right arm and hand.

In 1968, Dole was elected to the United States Senate.  From 1984 to 1986, he was the Senate’s majority leader, and then again from 1994 to 1996.  For his public service, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997.  He was the eighth senator to earn the Congressional Gold Medal in 2018.