Remembering Paul Wellstone 10 Years After His Passing

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Click Photo to hear Gov. Dayton's somber but hilarious tribute to Sen. Paul Wellstone.

Click Photo to hear Gov. Dayton's somber but hilarious tribute to Sen. Paul Wellstone.

Ten years ago this month, we lost U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone to a plane crash in the Iron Range, just 11 days before the 2002 election (along with his wife Sheila and daughter Marcia). Wellstone was a hero on the left, among other reasons for speaking out against the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

During a Wednesday night remembrance at Macalester College, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton gave a heartfelt speech recalling his former Senate colleague that ranged from the somber to hilarious.

Dayton did his impression of Wellstone speaking before a DFL state convention to win endorsement for State Auditor: “‘AAHHH NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT! AAAAHH SAVE THE RAIN FOREST! AAHH SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE!’

“The convention went wild,” Dayton recalls. “The issues Paul raised have nothing to do with the job of State Auditor. Mattered nothing to DFLers who had just heard the most electrifying speech of their lives.” Wellstone went on to win the DFL endorsement, but not the State Auditor’s race.

Video of full event including remarks from Wellstone’s sons.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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