NAMI advocates throughout the nation are shocked and saddened to learn that the lives of Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), his wife and daughter were tragically cut short today in the crash of a small plane in northern Minnesota.
Our members have loved and admired Senator Wellstone for his tireless advocacy on behalf of people with mental illnesses. Whether fighting for passage of mental health insurance parity legislation or conducting an unannounced visit to a juvenile justice facility, he brought a rare passion and energy to fighting discrimination against people with mental illnesses as part of a broader commitment to individual dignity, freedom, and bonds of justice that bring our nation together as a community.
One of the most liberal members of the Senate, Senator Wellstone formed what to some seemed like an unlikely partnership with Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) to work on a cause that flowed from the heart: equal coverage of mental illnesses in health insurance plans-which President Bush also endorsed this year. Although Senator Wellstone frequently gave no quarter when fighting for a cause he believed in, his commitment to principle, intellect, and profound depth of compassion earned the respect and affection of millions of Americans. Senator Wellstone has died with much of his work still unfinished. NAMI will honor his memory by continuing to fight for many of the causes he believed in. We also will miss him greatly. He was a member of the NAMI family. He was a friend.
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