Robert J. Dole, a GOP leader honored by DSA with its Champion of Free Enterprise Award during its annual Direct Selling on Capitol Hill Day September 1979, died on December 5, 2021, at the age of 98.
“Senator Dole was a friend of the direct selling channel, and he was a man who believed in the power of the individual not only to pursue the American Dream but also achieve fulfillment, happiness, and bounty,” said Joseph N. Mariano, President and CEO, DSA. “Senator Dole’s mark will endure in our nation’s Capitol, as will his unique ability to achieve a consensus among his peers that today we can admire.”
Dole became a leading force behind the sweeping Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. After leaving office, he became one of the most vocal supporters of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He pushed the enactment of the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. He also was the driving power behind the creation of the World War II Memorial in Washington.
Called a “genuine hero” by President Biden during a memorial service held at the Washington National Cathedral on Friday, December 10, 2021, Dole emerged from Depression-era, Dust Bowl hardships in his home state of Kansas and survived devastating wounds sustained in World War II to become a GOP leader who served as the Senate Republican Leader for more than a decade.
Dole was also honored on Saturday, December 11, 2021, in Kansas, both in Russell, the late senator’s birthplace, and at the state Capitol in Topeka.