A well-respected opponent

I feel a great loss over the tragic death of Sen. Paul Wellstone, his wife, daughter and the others in the plane. As a long-time Republican supporter and activist, I have worked against him. I worked in the campaign of Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, who was defeated by Wellstone in 1990 and 1996. I have been politically opposed to the majority of his policies in the years since.

However, Wellstone was an opponent who I respected very much because, unlike many politicians, I felt he was honest, truthful, sincere and consistent in his convictions. I believe such integrity in a politician is something to honor and to try to emulate.

He personally contacted me in the past, even though he knew my political views. I think that was honorable. He did this in matters involving deep convictions that transcended political differences.

This ability to rise above differences is all too rare among politically active people, including myself. From my contacts with him, I learned to work together with, and respect those I disagree with. He was influential in maturing my integrity.

This is a great loss for all of us who want to see leaders emerge from ideals, convictions, honesty and integrity. Such people are not always on our side in politics, but they are the people we should honor and try to emulate.

I will miss Sen. Wellstone very much.

Joe Roche, Pasadena, Maryland