NewsPublic Affairs / April 28, 2019

Governor Orders Flags At Half-Staff For Lugar

Governor Orders Flags At Half-Staff For Lugar

FILE - In this May 8, 2012 file photo, Sen. Richard Lugar gestures during a speech in Indianapolis.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has directed flags across the state to be flown at half-staff to honor former longtime Sen. Richard Lugar.

Lugar, a foreign policy expert, died Sunday at age 87. Holcomb says flags will be at half-staff until Lugar's funeral, which hasn't yet been announced.

Lugar was a generally loyal conservative but lost his bid for a seventh Senate term in the 2012 GOP primary after attacks over his reputation for cooperation with Democrats and friendliness with President Barack Obama. Lugar gained little traction with a 1996 run for president, but he focused on the threat of terrorism years ahead of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels spent more than a decade as chief of staff to Lugar. He says, "The world is safer from nuclear danger because of him."

Lugar's political career began with his election to the Indianapolis school board in the early 1960s, and city GOP leaders encouraged him to run for mayor in 1967.

He served two terms at the city's helm, leading the  the unification of Indianapolis and its suburban communities in Marion County -- known as Unigov. He also started efforts to revive the city's downtown with construction of Market Square Arena, which in turn helped bring the Indiana Pacers into the NBA and spurred Indianapolis' development as a sports.

He first ran for Senate in 1974, narrowly losing to Sen. Birch Bayh in a Democratic landslide after the Watergate scandal. He ran again two years later and easily unseated three-term Democratic Sen. Vance Hartke, launching a 35-year Capitol Hill career that made him Indiana's longest-serving senator.

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