George McGovern will be remembered for many things in his life. His dedicated and heroic service in World War II, his early opposition to the war in Vietnam, his race for the Presidency in 1972, where he lost in a landslide against Richard Nixon, his distinguished service in the U.S. House and Senate from his beloved State of South Dakota. But nowhere will his service be more remembered and honored than his fight against hunger and malnutrition and home and abroad, and his partnership and friendship with Senator Bob Dole in working to feed people around the world.
The McGovern-Dole partnership grew out of their joint service in the 1970’s on the Senate Hunger and Human Needs Committee, where they worked together to strengthen the Food Stamp Program, expand the national school lunch program, and give a real foundation to the Women, Infant and Children Program (WIC). The partnership later worked in Congress to nutrition and humanitarian aid programs throughout the work, especially for children, maintaining the US as the worldwide leader role in humanitarian assistance. George McGovern later served as Ambassador to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization where he continued his worldwide humanitarian advocacy. And as Secretary of Agriculture during the administration of President Bill Clinton, I had the privilege of watching the McGovern-Dole partnership team up to establish an international school lunch and child nutrition program modeled after the American school lunch program, and which has fed millions of children in the developing world over the past several years. McGovern and Dole were awarded the World Food Prize in 2008 for these and many other efforts.
George McGovern was a great, humble but persistent leader in helping the nation and world’s poor and hungry. But he and Bob Dole, at two very different ends of the political spectrum, proved that politics can really sometimes end at the water’s edge, and that working together as a bipartisan team can produce enormous results for humanity.
The Jewish Talmud teaches that if you save one life, you save the entire world. George McGovern saved the world many times over, in large part because two sons of the rural Midwest unshackled themselves from partisan politics to work together for the betterment of us all.
- Statement by Senator Bob Dole on the Passing of Senator George McGovern
October 21, 2012
- George McGovern, the man who never gave up
The Washington Post, October 21, 2012