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  Wendell Ford, former U.S. senator, dies
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ContributorIndyGeorgia 
Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jan 22, 2015 05:55pm
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CategoryObituary
AuthorThe Courier-Journal
MediaNewspaper - Louisville Courier Journal
News DateThursday, January 22, 2015 07:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionWendell Hampton Ford, whose deep roots in Kentucky politics led him to a successful but controversial tenure as governor and later to four terms as an influential defender of Kentucky interests in the U.S. Senate, died early Thursday morning at his home in Owensboro.

He was 90 and had been ill with lung cancer.

Ford held elective office for 33 years — the last 24 of them as a U.S. senator — and was the only Kentuckian ever to win election to consecutive terms as lieutenant governor, governor and senator.

To many Democrats, Ford was the most popular, effective and enduring politician the state party had produced in the last half century, and many sought his blessing and support before launching their own political campaigns.

In retirement, he founded the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, where he taught middle and high school students about civics and public service until just months before his death.

And he continued to politic for Democrats he supported until the end — sometimes upstaging the candidate with his fiery speeches blasting Republicans. "From the start to the end, he was a Democrat, a 'yellow-dog' Democrat," said Mike Ruehling, who served as Ford's spokesman for 15 years.
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