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The Life Of Paul Wellstone Essay

1687 words - 7 pages

On the afternoon of December 31, 1990 a grimy green bus roars up Constitutional Avenue and makes a stop at Capital Hill. Could this be a busload of hippies protesting the views of the government, a group of school children on a fieldtrip to see Capital Hill? No, it is Senator Paul Wellstone! On that December afternoon, Wellstone made his way to a platform mounted on the back of the bus and spoke:I wanted to come to Washington, D.C., in this bus I guess for a lot of different reasons. The bus was a symbol of everything that's not slick, of everything that isn't big money. The bus was our campaign, which we took to the people of Minnesota....I said to the students and the young people in Minnesota maybe more times than they ever wanted to hear, politics is not money and power games. Politics is about the improvement of people's lives. It is about lessening human suffering and it is about-and what a time to say this-advancing the cause of justice and peace in the world. That is what politics is about (qtd. in McGrath, Smith)That statement truly personifies Wellstone and his accomplishments while senator of Minnesota. Paul Wellstone's time as a United States senator was marked by devotion to many liberal causes. He worked hard for affordable healthcare, family leave, a higher minimum wage, and a better education system; a year after his death, Paul Wellstone's legacy still lives on. Paul Wellstone was born on July 21, 1944 in Washington D.C. to Jewish-Russian immigrants. He was raised in Arlington, Virginia and later attended the University of North Carolina and earned his Ph.D. in political science, as well as being a champion wrestler. In 1963 he married Sheila Ison, whom he later had three children with: David, Marcia, and Mark, and later moved to Minnesota in 1969 so Paul could begin teaching political science at Carleton College in Northfield. At Carleton, Wellstone taught classes like Social Movements and Grassroots Organizing, and he had a very hands-on method of teaching. It was said that instead of having his students reading textbooks, he would take them to picket lines and protests so they could see politics first hand. In fact, while teaching college classes Paul himself was arrested for picketing a bank that had foreclosed on many Minnesota farmers, led a fight against the installment of high-voltage power lines, and participated in a strike led by Hormel employees in Austin. Wellstone also spent many hours organizing welfare recipients in his town of Northfield. It seemed that Paul Wellstone was beginning to get more and more involved in what would later become a government career. Wellstone's first political adventure began in 1982 when he ran for state auditor of Minnesota. His jobs would involve overseeing local government expenditures and a membership on a board that invests public funds. One reason that Wellstone may have ran for state auditor was to move the DFL party to a more populist agenda, and to get his name...

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