North Dakota senators lose a friend and mentor with McCain passing

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Lawmakers in Washington are continuing to pay their respects to the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ). North Dakota senators see a big hole now that the maverick is gone.

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) says he hasn’t just lost a colleague; he’s lost a friend. Hoeven says McCain’s independent and fervent voice on Capitol Hill will be a big part of his storied legacy. He says it’s that reputation that earned him the “maverick” nickname.

“That was his nature. He was feisty. That’s part of the reason he was such an amazing sailor,” said Hoeven.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) says she remembers that feistiness in action, watching McCain “dress down” a newer member of the Senate. She says she focused on avoiding his bad side and learning from the veteran senator instead. His ability to work with both sides of the aisle is an attribute Heitkamp says she will always remember.

“He came with a steel determination to do the right thing and to be that moral compass for the Senate. And I think that’s how we’re going to miss him,” said Heitkamp.

Senator McCain will lie in state inside the Capitol Friday. There will be a private burial service in Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday.