Indiana Senator Richard Lugar will largely be remembered for his foreign policy efforts during his thirty-six years in office. Richard Mourdock defeated the senator Tuesday in Indiana’s Republican primary, but analysts say the defeat will not taint Lugar’s legacy.
Lugar’s list of accomplishments include his six terms as senator, a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, his annual Youth Leadership Seminar and the establishment of the Nunn-Lugar nuclear arms reduction program.
Lugar specifically mentioned the Nunn-Lugar program in his concession speech Tuesday night, and he said he plans to continue the effort even after he leaves office.
“At the end of my term, I look forward to new opportunities to serve Indiana and to serve our nation,” he said. “I will embrace projects where I can deliver the most benefit. I will continue to support the Nunn-Lugar program in every way that I can.”
IUPUI political scientist Brian Vargus says many of Lugar’s achievements were in the area of foreign policy. He says Republicans and Democrats will miss his work even though they might not discuss the details of Lugar’s contributions.
“The big [achievements] in foreign policy, some of them are hidden because when you sit on the Joint Committee and as a senior member of the minority on the Senate Committee many of those discussions are secret,” Vargus says.
Vargus says it can be difficult to explain to Hoosiers why having a senator who’s involved heavily in foreign policy is important, but he says Lugar’s work internationally had a huge impact on the state.
“As we get away from the election, the issue will be still exactly what did he do and it turns out to be quite significant in the area of foreign affairs,” Vargus says. “Indiana is in the middle of the county, it’s not noted for being tremendously cosmopolitan but in a global world with increasing international ties in business and education and everything we do, those kinds of people will be recognized no matter what.”