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WASHINGTON, D.C.–He was a man of common sense. 

That’s just one of the many ways former Indiana Senator and Mayor of Indianapolis Richard Lugar described fellow U.S. Senator Birch Bayh, who passed away Thursday morning at the age of 91. 


“I saw Birch Bayh in a different context there as a political competitor, but one even then, that I enjoyed being with,” Lugar said. 

But Lugar said that experience helped pave the way for his future success. 

Lugar said that one of the best things about Bayh was that he was willing to work with people on both sides of the aisle. 

“Very frequently, both of our votes were on different sides of the aisle, but at the same time, I appreciated the fact that I had a Hoosier colleague with me,” Lugar said. 

Bayh introduced an amendment shortly after the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy that updated the order of succession in the presidency and vice presidency in the case of death, disability or resignation. The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1967.

Bayh also authored the 26th Amendment, passed in 1971, which lowered the voting age across the nation from 21 to 18, a subject of hot debate at a time when 18-year-old Americans were being drafted into the Vietnam War. The senator thus became the only member of Congress since the founding fathers to author two constitutional amendments. 

“I did vote in favor of the amendments that he proposed. I admire that he took seriously his initial assignments,” Lugar said. 

(PHOTO: Abdul-Hakim Shabazz/WIBC)