Last week, on February 6, citizens across Wisconsin and this entire country celebrated one of America's strongest presidents. As you may know, in 2007 I sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 4 that recognized February 6 as Ronald Reagan Day in Wisconsin.
President Reagan's legacy in 2009 continues to grow in meaning and stature. Of all the things I have taken from years admiring this good man, perhaps the most timely is the sunny optimism and faith in America that President Reagan brought to every challenge that faced his administration. Large majorities of Americans supported him, voted for him and embraced his policies not because he convinced them of dire consequences for failing to do so, but because they embraced his vision for our country that would result from them. Leaders in both political parties could learn much from that example.
President Reagan could also work with members of both political parties without sacrificing the core principles that drove his time in public life. He believed in setting an appropriate tone for the public dialogue, and that disagreement need not necessitate less love for or interest in America. He was a strong leader, a great (exceptional) communicator and a loving family man. For generations to come in politics and public service, President Reagan will remain a figure for emulation. For the generations of Americans to come in life, Ronald Reagan will forever be a man to admire.
If you didn't realize that February 6th was a day to honor our 40th President, I hope you will take a moment to do so today.