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As the 111th Congress comes to a close, Missouri will bid farewell to two long-standing public officials: Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond and Rep. Ike Skelton.
Bond's political career began as an assistant attorney general under former senator John Danforth in 1969. In 1970 he was elected state auditor, and at age 33 he became Missouri's youngest governor.
After two terms as governor, Bond won election to the U.S. Senate. Since joining the Senate in 1987, he has faithfully served the state -- and country -- on several committees, including as senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and vice chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.
Bond's farewell address given on the Senate floor Dec. 14 is published in today's Perspectives page, 7A. Among his remarks appear these:
"In a world today where enemies are real -- the kind who seek to destroy others because of their religion -- it is important to remember there is a lot of real estate between a political opponent and a true enemy.
"In government there will always be spirited debate and principled debate where the ideas compete and the best ones prevail.
"There will be issues where people of good conscience cannot come together. But let us never let what cannot be done interfere with what can be done."
Skelton has represented Missouri's 4th Congressional District in the House of Representatives since 1977. Before being elected to Congress, he served as Lafayette County prosecuting attorney from 1957 to 1960 and as a state senator from 1971 to 1977.
The congressman, who is well respected by members of both parties, leaves the Congress after presiding over the House Armed Services Committee as chairman.
Both men are to be commended for their public service to Missouri and the country as a whole. They have left strong legacies that will be remembered for years to come.