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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Fellow senators remembered Paul Wellstone Monday as a man who always followed his conscience, even if it meant taking the unpopular view or being on the losing side.
``He was respected by people who didn’t agree with him because they knew that he was speaking from his heart, speaking from his soul, speaking what he truly believed,″ said fellow Minnesota Sen. Mark Dayton of Wellstone, who was killed Friday in a plane crash in northern Minnesota.
Dayton and three other Democratic senators gathered on the Senate floor to eulogize Wellstone and approve a resolution expressing the Senate’s ``profound sorrow and deep regret″ on the deaths of Wellstone, his wife and daughter, three staff members and two pilots in the crash.
It noted that Wellstone, one of the Senate’s most liberal members, ``worked tirelessly on behalf of America’s veterans and the less fortunate, particularly children and families living in poverty and those with mental illness.″
The Senate is in recess and few senators are in Washington. Some, including Wellstone, have been campaigning for re-election.
Wellstone’s desk in the back row of the Senate chamber was draped in black felt with a fresh flower arrangement on top.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., noted that Wellstone ``rubbed some people the wrong way″ when he first came to Washington in 1991 because he was determined to change the world. ``These very people became the people who cared most about him in many ways in the final analysis because they realized that everything he said and everything he did was not about himself but about the people he wanted to represent.″
``He had courage,″ said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. ``Paul Wellstone could not vote against his conscience.″ Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., also spoke of the deep affection people working in the Capitol had for the late senator.
The resolution is S. Res. 354.