ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- Former US Senator Rod Grams lost his battle with cancer late Tuesday night. A family spokesperson says he began home hospice about a month ago and had his wife Chris by his side when he passed away. Grams is also survived by four children and several grandchildren.
Former staffers and campaign workers remember him as an energetic leader. "Everybody was just psyched to campaign for him," Kent Kaiser, a close friend and former campaign volunteer, recalled. "I think people would say he was a 'work horse' not a 'show horse.' He went there (Washington DC) for a purpose and the $500 per child tax credit is an example of that purpose," Kaiser added. He also says the Republican was well known for reaching across the political aisle.
Grams served one term in the US House of Representatives and one term in the US Senate between 1993 and 2001.
Kaiser says the former Twin Cities Television Anchor had rebuilt the farm he grew up on in Crown, Minnesota. It was there he received daily visitors. Family members, friends, former senate and house staffers, and aspiring politicians would stop by often. "He was the kind of guy you'd want to sit around and talk with," Kaiser explained.
Current MN House Minority Leader Kurd Daudt took to twitter upon learning the news. "He was a good friend and neighbor, and was the person who inspired me to run for office," he posted.
Fellow house member Kurt Zellers began his political career with Senator Grams; driving him across the state when he would return to Minnesota from Washington. "He was the greatest mentor I ever had. I remember he got to speak at the United Nations and we were talking about it when he came back and he said 'can you imagine, a kid from Crown, Minnesota going to the United Nations?' He was really aware of where he came from and how lucky he was and the opportunities he had," Zellers, a Republican Representative from Maple Grove, said.
They say if you had the opportunity to meet Senator Grams, you instantly felt like you'd been friends with him for decades. Rod Grams was 65.
"He was a good guy. We could be proud that he was our U.S. Senator," Kaiser concluded.
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