Washburn Law students meet Bob Dole

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole (bottom middle)  with Washburn Law students (top left) Michael Fowler, Christopher Staley, Nate Jiwanlal, Adeel Syed, (bottom left) Taylor Concannon. Dole stopped by to meet with some Washburn Law students during his gratitude tour of Kansas. 

Shelia Summers

A group of Washburn Law students were invited to meet with former U.S. Republican Senator and former presidential candidate Bob Dole, on his gratitude tour. His stop in Shawnee County, Kan., May 20 was his 24th of the 105 counties he plans to visit by late fall.

Law students Taylor Concannon, Michael Fowler, Nate Jiwanlal, Christopher Staley and Adeel Syed had the privilege of spending a few minutes each with Dole, who also graduated from Washburn in 1952 with a LL.B. and B.A. degrees.

Staley and 90-year-old Dole talked about their common thread of being from western Kansas. Dole is from Russell and Staley is from Colby.

“We spoke about how our experiences in rural Kansas helped shape our lives,” said Staley. “He told me to never forget where you come from, and always try and help those in need.”

Dole focused his talk on two topics: Social Security reform and the balanced budget amendment.

“I think my proudest achievement in the Senate was helping rescue Social Security in 1983,” said Dole. “It was about to go broke and we had to do something or checks were going to be smaller.”

Although Dole has a huge political career, he has one deep frustration from his time in office.

“My biggest disappointment was the balanced budget amendment,” said Dole. “We had 50 votes and they had 50 votes and I lost because you don’t win ties. We lost because one Republican defected and gave them the tie. I thought the balanced budget amendment would have been very important to people in Shawnee County or anywhere in the country but now we are sitting on top of a $17 trillion debt.”

Dole’s visit ended with him thanking the community.

“I am here just to say thank you for all your support over the years,” said Dole. “Some of you may have voted for me five times for the U.S. Senate and gave me the opportunity to serve Kansas. I had a great experience in the process and I appreciate it very much. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”