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Senator Trent Lott and Governor Haley Barbour Issue Statements on Death of Former Congressman Sonny Montgomery

Keith Burton - GCN   Filed 5/12/06

Retired Congressman Sonny Montgomery, often called Mr. Veteran, for his support of the military, died at 4:15 a.m. today at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian of complications from a prior abdominal surgery.  Montgomery served  30 years in Congress representing east central Mississippi. He was 85

Montgomery was a stout supporter of the military and Keesler A.F.B. in Biloxi. Montgomery represented east central Mississippi in Congress from 1966 through 1996. Prior to that, he served for a decade in the Mississippi State Senate.

Senator Trent Lott and Governor Haley Barbour commented on Montgomery's passing in statements emailed to GCN Friday morning.

Said Lott:

“‘Mr. Veteran,’ a ‘Congressman’s Congressman,’ ‘author of the Montgomery GI Bill’ – there are so many honorable, revered names that have been given to Sonny throughout his long, productive and exemplary career, but I choose to call him ‘friend.’  He was an inspiration not just to other public servants, but to everyone he came across.  He was a confidant of Presidents who had a down-home relationship with Mississippians that all of us who served with him tried to emulate.

 “He could have run for a ‘higher’ office, and he had ample opportunities to advance his career.  But he chose to exclusively serve the men and women who elected him for three decades as their Representative, with a zeal and determination that was as strong his last day in Congress as it was his first. 

“Thirty years in Congress, ten years in the Mississippi State Legislature before that –  Sonny served his constituents from the 1950s through the 1990s, leading us through dramatic and sometimes difficult change.  Through it all, he provided steady leadership, homespun wisdom and sure statesmanship up to his last day.  A half century is a long time to serve, but it’s a mere prelude – a fraction of the time that he will be remembered, respected and loved.  Rest in peace, friend.”

Governor Haley Barbour said:

"Sonny was a giant among congressmen in Mississippi history. The good he did for veterans is a national accomplishment and he accomplished so much in so many areas that all Mississippians are grateful for his service and leadership. As a conservative Democrat he was an indispensable ally of Presidents like Ronald Reagan and his longtime personal friend George H. W. Bush. We will miss him very much."

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