By Samm Quinn
U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar used his valedictory speech Wednesday to encourage the incoming Congress to work better together.
"In my experience, it is difficult to conceive of a better platform from which to devote oneself to public service and the search for solutions to national and international problems," he said. "At its best, the Senate is one of the Founders' most important creations."
But, he said, Congress has not lived up to its constituents' expectations.
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"Governance requires adaptation to shifting circumstances. It often requires finding common ground with Americans who have a different vision than your own. It requires leaders who believe, like Edmund Burke, that their first responsibility to their constituents is to apply their best judgment," he said.
"My hope is that Senators will devote much more of their energies to governance."
He said it's important Congress and President Barack Obama establish a closer relationship, especially on matters dealing with national security.
"This cooperation depends both on congressional leaders who are willing to set aside partisan advantage and on administration officials who understand that the benefits of having the support of Congress is worth the effort it takes to secure it," he ended.
After leaving Capitol Hill, Lugar plans to launch an intensive, Washington D.C. based internship program through the University of Indianapolis, where he'll join the faculty as an occasional speaker and teacher.
"I will leave the Senate for new pursuits that will allow me to devote much deeper attention to a number of issues that have been a part of my Senate service. Among these are preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and developing more efficient ways to feed the world," he said.
Lugar lost to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the May primary, but is being replaced by U.S. Congressman Joe Donnelly.
Samm Quinn is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.
Other recent Lugar news:
Sen. Lugar will take on a new role at the University of Indianapolis.
Lugar's legacy lives on locally through several ongoing programs
By Jacie Shoaf
INDIANAPOLIS - During a political career that extended more than four decades, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar launched or inspired programs across Indiana focused on students, women, communities and more - and many will continue even after the Republican leaves office.
One of those is the Richard G. Lugar Center for Tomorrow's Leaders located at the University of Indianapolis. The center - which sponsors events and scholarships for high school students - will host its 36th symposium on Dec. 8.
The school intends to continue its work despite Lugar's primary election loss this year, which will force him from office in January. He served six terms.
The Republican - who also served as mayor of Indianapolis - is a former trustee and professor at the school.
"The center was created in 2007 in the mind to continue his legacy forever," said Lara Mann, director of the Lugar Center for Tomorrow's Leaders.
Mann said that she doesn't know what Lugar's plans are once he leaves the Senate, but she hopes he will continue to connect with the program in the future.
That's the wish of many of the directors and organizers of programs bearing the senator's name, including the Lugar Excellence in Public Service series, which trains Hoosier women in government leadership.
More than 400 women have graduated from the program, which is in its 23rd year.
"We made the decision to continue the program... because Sen. Lugar has always made it clear the program is about women leaders, and that mission continues," said Anne Hathaway, the program's executive director.
Hathaway said that there may be minor changes in the program as Lugar's availability changes, but she hopes he will continue to be the keynote speaker for its major events.
Because it's focused on Republican women, the Lugar series is one that his successor - Democrat Joe Donnelly - probably won't embrace.
But Donnelly's spokeswoman, Elizabeth Shappell, said the Democrat wants to continue "Sen. Lugar's legacy of supporting Hoosier higher education, strengthening our agricultural community, and encouraging youth leadership and community engagement."
Part of that legacy is the Fund for Hoosier Excellence, a program Lugar instituted to help minority students pay to attend colleges in Indiana. Since its founding in 1983, the program has awarded more than $1.5 million dollars in scholarships to more than 230 students.
The Fund for Hoosier Excellence is not politically affiliated and will continue after Lugar leaves office. DeAnna Harris, president of the fund's board of directors, was the first female recipient of a scholarship from the program.
Harris, who won her scholarship in 1984, said Lugar was always available to help with the program, contributed to it and keynoted the awards ceremony for 29 years. She said he also tried to keep in touch with the students he met through the program.
"He really values that time to get to know the scholars on a personal level," Harris said.
Lugar's office also helped to launch the Lugar-Purdue Future of Forestry Program and scholarship. The program offers online classes about forestry to high school students, making them eligible to receive scholarships to Purdue.
"We've have had some contact with the senator's office," said Lenny Farlee, the school's extension forester. "They are interested in continuing the program, with some changes to try to get more participation."
Jacie Shoaf is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.