Hillary and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Congressman William Natcher. We want to extend our deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and staff for their great loss. For the past 40 years, Bill Natcher has served the people of Kentucky's Second District with distinction and uncommon dedication.
Earlier this month, I visited Bill Natcher at Bethesda Naval Hospital where I presented the Presidential Citizens' Medal to him. The citation for that medal offers a fitting remembrance of Congressman Natcher's career: "Few legislators in our history have honored their responsibilities with greater fealty or shunned the temptations of power with greater certainty than William Huston Natcher."
Bill Natcher governed and campaigned the hard way. He never missed a rollcall vote or a quorum call in the House for 40 years. He never took a campaign contribution. He never made a political commercial. He never hired a press secretary. He read and answered his own constituent mail. He drove through the small towns and farms of central Kentucky visiting the people he represented at county courthouses and general stores. He paid his campaign expenses out of his own pocket and never had to spend much money. In an era of soundbites and high-tech media campaigns, Bill Natcher was a rarity.
Some may think that Bill Natcher's death marks the end of an era in politics. I hope not. I hope that Congressman Natcher's devotion to public service serves as an inspiration to the young men and women of America for as long as his voting record stands. Bill Natcher once said he wanted his tombstone to read, "He tried to do it right." Let us all carry those words forward in his honor and memory.