Columnist says Ray LaHood will be missed

DeWayne Bartels

Mark Shields says Washington will miss Ray LaHood.

"The sad fact is that one public servant, unknown to most, who has lived and practiced genuine bipartisanship is retiring this year. After 14 admirable years of representing Peoria and central Illinois in the U.S. House, Republican Ray LaHood has made the House a more civil, more decent and more personal place.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to the testimony of U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Democrat who is so tough he's widely rumored to eat nails and spit rust: "I'll miss him dearly. ... I'm a Jewish-American Democrat, and Ray is a Lebanese-American Catholic Republican. If we could work together, anything is possible."

And work together they have. As LaHood recalls, "The day after Rahm got elected (in 2002), he called me and said, 'Ray, I want to work with you.'"

Dick Durbin, the senior U.S. senator from Illinois, is the assistant Senate majority leader and a formidable party strategist. But Durbin, when asked, praises LaHood to the sky: "He's one of my three best friends in the Illinois delegation (in which there are today 13 Democrats and eight Republicans).

The rest of the coumn can be found at:

I have to wonder if the media won't end up missing Ray too.

He was always good at returning calls from this reporter.