Nebraska Legislature remembers former Sens. Brad Ashford, Dennis Byars

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Senators started the last day of this legislative session taking time to honor and remember those who have come before them.

“In the last couple of days, we’ve really received some very sad news,” said Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers. “Former Sen. Brad Ashford, as well as former Senator Dennis Byars passed away.”

Senators who knew these men personally took time to honor and remember them.

“We lost a dear friend and a true public servant,” Sen. Steve Lathrop said. “As you know Brad Ashford passed away yesterday. I was fortunate to call Brad a friend and a colleague. I rise today to honor my friend.”

Sen. John McCollister called Ashford “a gentle giant.”

“Absent-minded professor, that’s the best way to describe Brad, but a policy wonk 100% through and through,” McCollister said.

Lathrop and McCollister recently visited former Ashford in the hospital and presented him with a resolution signed by all current senators, thanking him for his public service.

“I have to tell you how much he appreciated that,” Lathrop said. He appreciated the recognition but also appreciated that every last one of you signed off on that resolution, and it meant so very much to Brad.”

Byars was laid to rest in Beatrice on Tuesday.

He was also remembered in the Nebraska legislature for the time he spent serving the state.

Byars was an active member of the Gage County Board until the last couple of months, Sen. Myron Dorn said.

“He often talked to me about his service up here in this chamber, and all the people he met,” Dorn said. “Like they just talked about Sen. Ashford about his public service to the people of his community and to the people of the state of Nebraska.  For the State of Nebraska to have two servants to have done as good of a job as they did, we are so, so lucky to have them, and we thank both of them for giving their time and their family to serve this great state.”

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