William V. Roth, political icon

I went to work for Sen. Roth as an unpaid campaign staffer after I finished college in 1976. I met him for the first time about a week later. He introduced himself and his dog Ludwig and asked me about myself. That really began my great admiration for him. He was a mentor for me in so many ways. He wasn’t your typical politician. He wasn’t the most outgoing person. He didn’t remember names. He couldn’t tell a joke. But he had a remarkable ability to see problems. He was always concerned about America’s lack of personal savings. That’s why the Roth IRA is named after him. It was him constantly saying to the finance committee, “You’ve got to get people to increase their saving.” You also can’t minimize his work on the Roth-Kemp tax cut of 1981—it’s what re-energized the nation’s economy. He was more of a statesman than a politician. He never grandstanded. He always wanted to do the right thing. It didn’t matter to him if you were a Democrat or a Republican. He wanted to work together. That’s really what’s missing in Washington now. He was very devoted to his constituents. It was no matter if you hadn’t voted for him. While his predecessors worked for their constituents, Sen. Roth took that kind of service to another level. He was just a great guy. We could really use a lot of his wisdom today.