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McGovern's Legacy Goes Beyond Washington

October 23, 2012, 5:43 AM by Austin Hoffman
Updated: October 23, 2012, 7:00 AM

McGovern's Legacy Goes Beyond Washington

Former US Senator George McGovern left behind a legacy that's still at the center of American politics today and most likely will be for some time.

When you talk to people who knew McGovern first-hand, there's no question as to why he will be missed by so many people.

His kind words and a lock box memory helped him through his political career.  But it's the work he did that's leaving a lasting memory.

"Senator McGovern will be remembered fondly for a number of incredible accomplishments," retired SDSU political science professor Bob Burns said.

Burns first got to know former Senator McGovern when he and his wife helped with his 1972 presidential bid.

"He really viewed government as an institution that can and should be active, can and should dedicate general resources in order to level the playing field nationwide, and even on a global basis, to indeed lift those that come into this world at a disadvantage to a better position so that they may better realize their potential," Burns said.

Burns says McGovern will most likely be remembered for his work fighting world hunger and malnutrition. But the legislation he was a part of speaks for itself. 

"The Food Stamp Program was born in the mid 1960's as a result of the combined efforts of Senator McGovern and Senator Dole, a Republican senator from Kansas. It was also during that time that Medicare and Medicaid became a reality in the United States," Burns said.

The Civil Rights act of 1964, the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act were all passed during McGovern's time in Washington.

"And they're still at the center of the political storm so to speak. We’re still debating the virtues for these legislative enactments," Burns said.

Burns is sad to see the former senator pass, but says the loss goes much deeper than what one individual experiences.

"We can only hope that others will pick up the baton and will continue this battle, this global battle to address hunger and malnutrition and continue to make progress in solving this great challenge," Burns said.

McGovern's funeral will be held on Friday at 1:00 p.m. in Sioux Falls. You can watch it live on KELOLAND News and

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