Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Ex-senator toasted at UK

By Steve Bailey
The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — Former U.S. Sen. Walter D. “Dee” Huddleston presented his senatorial papers to the University of Kentucky on Monday during a star-studded ceremony at the Margaret I. King Library.

        “This is a very special day for me,” said Mr. Huddleston, a state senator from 1965-1972 and U.S. senator from 1973-1984.

        “I graduated from this university in 1949, and that's where I've always wanted my public papers to go. I'm just glad they would take them.”

        More than 150 guests, including several former governors and university presidents as well as many other state and local dignitaries, ate lunch and watched a short video tribute to Mr. Huddleston.

        Former Kentucky Gov. Edward T. Breathitt and U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also spoke during the event.

        “This is a wonderful man who has honored the state of Kentucky with his service,” former University of Kentucky president Otis Singletary said. “He's been a great friend to this university for a lot of years.”

        A Democrat from Elizabethtown, Mr. Huddleston was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972, defeating Republican Louie B. Nunn by a vote of 529,890 to 495,995. He was re-elected in 1978 but defeated by Republican Mitch McConnell in the 1984 general election.

        “It seems to me that the personal relationships between the people up in Washington have gotten a lot more acrimonious,” Mr. Huddleston said Monday. “In my days, we were a little more civilized with each other.”

        Mr. Huddleston was recognized with a Distinguished Service Medal by then-CIA Director William Casey in 1985 for his work on several Senate Intelligence subcommittees. He also served on the Agriculture and Appropriations committees.

        The son of a Methodist minister, Mr. Huddleston was born in Burkesville in Cumberland County on April 15, 1926. He attended Jeffersontown High School in Jefferson County and then served as a tank gunner in World War II from 1944 to 1946.

        He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in radio arts and later worked several radio jobs, including at WKCT in Bowling Green, WIEL in Elizabethtown and WLBN in Lebanon.

        Upon leaving the U.S. Senate, Mr. Huddleston became a consultant for the Tobacco Institute and then served as senior vice president of Hecht and Associates, a Washington, D.C., consulting firm.

        “It's a lot less hectic for me these days,” said Mr. Huddleston, who lives with his family in Elizabethtown and serves as chairman of the board of a local bank. “I've got a lot more time for myself and for my family.”


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