The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

May 8, 2013

Out of office, Lugar shuns retirement

INDIANAPOLIS — One year ago, Indiana’s longest serving U.S. senator was rejected by Republican primary voters and forced into an unwelcome retirement from a distinguished political career that spanned 46 years.

But at 81, former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar is hardly in a resting mode.  

In the months since his loss, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has traveled on a nuclear-powered warship to the South China Sea; founded The Lugar Center to continue his work on weapons nonproliferation and global food security; signed on with the German Marshall Fund to head an institute devoted to diplomacy; and joined the faculty of three universities.

He’s also been knighted by both the British and the Poles, using the accolades — like the multiple honors bestowed on him recently — to raise awareness and money for these efforts.

After his many years of public service — including two terms as Indianapolis mayor and 36 years the Senate — why not retire?

“I’m still living in this world,” is how Lugar answered that question, during a break from a busy schedule of events in Indianapolis Tuesday. “And it’s still a dangerous world.”

Lugar, a Rhodes scholar and farmer, spent much of his Senate career trying to make it a little less dangerous.

Before finishing his final term in early January, he was awarded the Defense Department’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award, for “his extraordinary leadership and contributions to America’s national security.”

The award was in recognition for his work with former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, a Georgia Democrat, to craft the bill that created the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Better known as Nunn-Lugar, the program has eliminated more than 7,500 nuclear warheads in the former Soviet Union and continues to secure and destroy weapons of mass destruction around the world.

The only sign of residue disappointment from his 2012 primary loss to Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock — who subsequently lost to Democrat Joe Donnelly — appears when he talks about his age.  

“Some people are surprised by what we’re doing,” Lugar said, of the multiple commitments he’s made to universities and institutions. “They think: ‘This is an 81-year-old man. What the devil is he doing?’ ”

It’s a question, he said, that echoes what he heard on the campaign trail last spring. “Some people, frankly, said: ‘We like you a lot. We’ve supported you again and again. But, you know, now you’re too old. Somebody who is 80 or 81 ought to know when it’s time to get out.”

Lugar didn’t agree, then or now. He’s in good health, still deeply interested in international affairs, and still feels a strong sense of obligation to make the world a safer place.

After he lost the May primary, he reached out to a multitude of people, from Hoosiers serving in the military to world leaders with whom he’d forged alliances and friendships.

“All of these people who’d relied on me for a long time,” Lugar said. “I assured them that I would still be around, doing what I could to influence world opinion.”

His schedule this week is typical of the life he’s now leading.

On Monday, he spoke to an audience of lawyers that included Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts; on Tuesday, he visited the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in the morning to promote the museum’s 50th anniversary and was honored in the evening by the Indiana State Museum.

He’s scheduled to be back in Washington, D.C., today to receive Germany’s highest honor, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, from the German president. On Thursday, he has a gala to attend and an award to accept from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The awards, he said, are humbling, but also provide him an opportunity to talk about his work and the causes he still cares about.

“I deeply believe in the things that I’ve been doing,” Lugar said. “I don’t have the opportunity to do them as a United States senator any more. But I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep working.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0728 - Colts Camp - 006 Armed Forces Day at Colts camp pairs Girl Scout cookies with veterans

    Pair Girl Scouts and their world-famous cookies with Armed Forces Day at Indianapolis Colts training camp, and you've got a winning combination. Operation: Cookie Drop, as it's called, is a program where customers buy boxes of cookies for delivery to active and retired military throughout central Indiana.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0728 - World War 1 local Nurse hoped for lasting peace after World War I Ella Hand’s grave marker in Elwood is simple and unadorned. A stone block, it marks that she was born Sept. 20, 1870, and died Oct. 28, 1937.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0728 - Gordon art Rain doesn't dampen Brickyard fans' spirits

    Despite threatening skies and chances of rain, fans at the Brickyard 400 were not disheartened by the forecast Sunday. Fans expected the race to be completed and were anticipating an exciting race for the Sprint Cup event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • What's Where: July 28 Local meetings and activities are scheduled Monday, July 28.

    July 28, 2014

  • Markleville Jamboree begins July 31 Is your baby the prettiest? Does your pet do amazing tricks? Do you bake, sew, craft? Do you like tractors? If any of this sounds like you, you're invited to join in the contests at the Markleville Jamboree.

    July 28, 2014

  • Arrest Log: July 27 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Friday and Saturday based on Madison County Jail records.

    July 27, 2014

  • SPT - HB0727 - Harvick art Harvick dominates qualifying SPEEDWAY — Kevin Harvick dominated the first ever knock-out qualifying for the Brickyard 400, easily capturing the pole position for Sunday’s race.Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet posted the quickest time in all three sessions and was the

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0727 - Markleville honor Another golden hour: Couple gives thanks to rescuers On Saturday, the Smalls attended the Adams Markleville fire department’s annual ice cream social to personally thank those they say are responsible for saving Steve’s life.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0727 - Teacher Blessing - 13 Church's donation a blessing for teachers Thirty teachers attended the second annual Blessings for Teachers on Saturday at Anderson First Baptist Church.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • nws - hb0725 - colts - jc - 4.jpg Colts camp's impact: pricey or priceless?

    Football fever is here and the city is flooded with fans eager to catch a glimpse of a favorite player. But officials say they are unclear what kind of economic impact the Indianapolis Colts training camp has on the area.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

July Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook