Kansas legend Bob Dole receives highest civilian honor from Congress

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A Kansas political icon was recognized in Washington Wednesday. Bob Dole who served in the U.S. House and Senate for 35 years received a rare award on Capitol Hill, in front of hundreds. An effort from Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) to present Dole with the Congressional Gold Medal puts the former lawmaker in rarified air.

Sen. Roberts (R-KS) says a figure like Dole would be useful in today's turbulent political environment.

“I am extremely honored to accept this great honor,” said Dole to the hundreds on hand.

It’s the highest civilian award given by Congress. VIPs filled the Capitol Rotunda. Family, friends, fans and the statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower all looking on. President Donald Trump also attended the celebration.

“He fights for Kansas, veterans, for the disabled, and all of his fellow Americans...and he always has,” said President Trump.

Roberts lead the effort to put this medal in Dole’s hands. He says he got all 100 senators on board in just a couple days.

“People were coming to me and signing their name wanting to honor him, rather than me going to them asking if they would sign up. That says everything about the man,” said Dole.

The medal requires Congressional approval. Two-thirds of both chambers have to sign on. Roberts says they blew past that threshold with ease. He says with evident division in Washington, a force like Bob Dole would come in handy.

“He made a lot of bipartisan agreements with a lot of people, but always sticking to his principles. That’s rare leadership,” said Roberts.

Dole was the only approved recipient of the Gold Medal in 2017.