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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, December 15, 2018 1:00 am

Furthermore ...

Civility, cooperation themes in Donnelly's DC farewell

The big news out of Washington, D.C., Tuesday was that a meeting in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer had somehow turned – hold onto your hats – rancorous.  All of them could have learned something from the farewell speech by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, that same day.  

Reflecting on his three terms in the U.S. House and his single term in the Senate, Donnelly reminded his colleagues that they can accomplish more by finding consensus.

“In my 12 years in the Capitol, I've prided myself on the relationships I've built, on the bipartisan nature of them, on working together,” Donnelly said. “Our focus has been, how do we make life better.”

In last month's election, Republican Mike Braun handily defeated Donnelly, who was criticized for supposedly not getting more done. But that was a criticism better directed at Congress as a whole. Donnelly was one of those rare lawmakers who preferred civility and cooperation to party-line bickering, as the Lugar Center's Bipartisan Index consistently showed.

After listing issues that concerned him most – the opioid crisis, health care, veterans and the deficit – Donnelly concluded by reminding his colleagues whom it is they work for.

“Our country is filled with hardworking, decent people,” he said,  “who just want us to do common-sense things.”