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Former Sen. Warren Rudman dies

State House Bureau

November 20. 2012 9:15AM


CONCORD - Former U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman, co-author of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction act and a key backer of fellow Granite Stater David Souter's being named to the U.S. Supreme Court, has died. He was 82 years old and died just before midnight at George Washington Hospital from complications from lymphoma.

He had been in declining health for some time.

Rudman's first campaign manager and friend, Manchester attorney Brad Cook, called Rudman 'one of the great public servants in New Hampshire in the 20th Century.' Cook said Rudman was another of the great legacies of former Gov. Walter Peterson, who died last year.

'Walter plucked a young attorney in Nashua to be legal counsel to the governor and then named him attorney general,' Cook said. 'There would be no Justice Souter without Warren Rudman, no Tom Rath with all the good he has done and his influence, and no Brad Cook. He got more out of people than they knew how to give.'

Former Gov. John Sununu said this morning, 'I am sorry to hear that Warren Rudman died last night. He was a very good friend and a great public servant. He was a great senator and as one of the authors of the Gramm-Rudman budget process helped bring control to America's finances in the 1980s. Nancy and I extend our condolences to the Rudman family.''

Former New Hampshire Attorney General and Gov. Stephen Merrill said, 'Sen. Rudman set the standard for the New Hampshire Attorney General's office. He instituted modern trial practices and modern hiring practices. He had a national reputation among his peers and is still spoken of today at AG meetings. He will be sorely missed.'

Gov. John Lynch said Rudman was a man who worked across the aisle and was true to his principles.

"Warren Rudman work tirelessly to serve the people of New Hampshire and the nation. As a leader in the U.S. Senate, he was someone who stuck to his principles, yet was able to reach across the aisle to work toward a bipartisan resolution on the issues of the day,' Gov. Lynch said. 'His long public service and statesmanship are examples for us to follow and he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers and those of my wife, Susan, are with the Rudman family at this time.'

Rudman won a spirited Republican primary in 1980 to face former Democratic U.S. Sen. John Durkin, who won one of the closest U.S. Senate races in history. Durkin died last month.

Rudman defeated Durkin and then ran for reelection in 1986 before deciding to retire after his second term in the U.S. Senate. Before he left office, Rudman was instrumental in the appointment by President George H.W. Bush of now-retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

Former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg won the Senate seat in 1992 when Rudman retired. Tuesday morning he said Rudman was a huge player in the state's political life as well as in Washington, D.C.

"He brought a lot of respect to New Hampshire in the way he represented us,' Gregg said. 'He was a leader who did important things: whether on international policy where he was an expert or on domestic spending issues with Graham-Rudman, a major discipline on federal spending.'

Gregg noted he and Rudman were good friends and their families grew up together in Nashua where Rudman's father owned a manufacturing plant across the street from his grandfather's.

"It was a great honor to follow him in the Senate and try to live up to his standards,' Gregg said.

Current U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Rudman will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to justice and his devotion to country.

'As attorney general and U.S. senator from New Hampshire, he always put principle over politics and fought for what he believed in. Sen. Rudman's willingness to work across party lines to get the job done remains an example for all elected officials,' said Shaheen. 'Our state is a better place because of Warren Rudman. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family.'

State Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said he was saddened by Rudman's passing. "Sen. Rudman was a tireless public servant throughout his decades-long career which included service in the United States Army during the Korean War, serving as New Hampshire's Attorney General and as then as United States senator,' Buckley said. 'Sen. Rudman will be deeply missed by the people of the Granite State and by all those his service touched. My thoughts are with his family at this time.'

New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said he appreciated Rudman's support and counsel while he served in Congress. 'Warren served his country as a soldier, a senator and a statesman. He will be remembered as someone who cared deeply about our national debt and national security long before others understood the need to pay attention to these issues,' Bradley said. 'He stood firm for his convictions both here in Concord as attorney general and in Washington as our U.S. Senator. His leadership will be missed and our thoughts are with the Rudman family today.'

Rudman was best known for co-writing the deficit reduction bill with fellow Republican Sen. Phill Gramm of Texas and Democrat Ernest Hollings of South Carolina. The bill required 'sequestration' of federal funding if deficit targets were not reached. The move helped reduce the federal deficit during the 1990s.

'My favorite expression from Warren was 'Just tell the truth and watch them scatter,'' said Cook, 'which was a hallmark of his service in Washington.'

After Rudman left the senate, former President Bill Clinton asked Rudman to become his Treasury Secretary, but Rudman declined. Clinton did appoint Rudman as vice chair of the influential President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Not long after he left office, Rudman formed the Concord Coalition with former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas to bring attention to the country's financial problems and growing debt.

Before and after his retirement from the U.S. Senate, Rudman was associated with the Sheehan, Phinney, Bass and Green law firm in Manchester.

Rudman was active in national presidential campaigns, including fellow Sen. Bob Dole's 1996 effort and John McCain's 2000 bid.

He was an Army combat infantry commander and saw much action during the Korean conflict.

He served as N.H. attorney general from 1970 to 1976.

'Warren's legacy is the number of people in New Hampshire and the country who he inspired and taught and who learned from him,' Cook said. 'Many, many, many of his assistant (attorney generals) who came through his office are the top lawyers in New Hampshire.'

He was born in Boston, Mass., on May 18, 1930. At the time of his death, Rudman was co-chair of the international consulting firm Albright Stonebridge Group and was of counsel to the New York-based international law firm Paul, Weiss.

Rudman's wife, Shirley, died last year. They have two daughters, Laura Rudman of Amherst and Debra Gilmore and son-in-law Dan Gilmore of Wayland, Mass. Their son, Alan, died in Maine in 2004.

Rudman is also survived by his wife, Margaret Shean Rudman, who resides in Washington, D.C.; three grandchildren, Ben, Sarah and Rebecca Gilmore; and two sisters, Jean Gale of Cape Neddick, Maine, and Carol Rudman of Washington, D.C.,

Memorial services are being planned in both Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire. The service in Washington will be on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 29, at a location to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Wounded Warriors Project, the Salvation Army, or the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

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