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Indiana Remembers Former US Sen. Birch Bayh

Birch bayh and lee hamilton in baseball uniforms on a baseball field

Bayh with Representative Lee Hamilton at the 1967 Democratic-Republican baseball game on July 13, 1967 (IU Archives)

Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh of Indiana has died at age 91. Indiana officials are remembering the longtime politician.

Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-Ind.)

Gov. Holcomb has directed flags across Indiana to be flown at half-staff from now until sunset on the day of Bayh's funeral, which has not yet been announced. 

The governor also asked Indiana businesses and residents to lower their flags to honor Bayh, calling him "a trailblazer who dedicated himself to improving the lives of all Hoosiers."

"His remarkable legislative and personal legacy transformed the country and will live on for years to come," Holcomb said in a statement. 

Former Congressman Lee Hamilton

Former Congressman Lee Hamilton, a longtime friend, says Bayh's most significant impact was Title IX. 

"Title IX is only a few words, it's not a long law at all," Hamilton says. "But it had a profound impact on creating opportunities for women especially, but for minorities in general."

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) 

Sen. Todd Young calls Bayh a "modern-day founding father." 

"He used his tensure in the Senate to push for substantive and substantial change," Young said in a tweet. "While we remember his legacy, my thoughts and prayers are will the entire Bayh family." 

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.)

"Though Birch Bayh left his indelible mark on our Constitution, our universities, and the history of the United States Senate, he was first and always a Hoosier," Braun said in a tweet. 

State Rep. Tonya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute)

Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.)

"Birch Bayh never failed to exhibit a gracious and pragmatic approach to public service, listening to all individuals, and working hard every day for a better future for our state and nation," Visclosky said in a statement. "He lived a life dedicated to serving others. May his example continue to lead the way for all current and future public servants." 

Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.)

"Today we remember and pay our respect," Pence said in a tweet. "Sen. Bayh left his mark on this earth as a humble servant to the people who fought for what he believed in." 

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.)

Brooks said in a series of tweets that Bayh was a champion for civil rights. 

"He was a staunch advocate for women & girls through his dedication to the passage of Title IX, ensuring all women had equal opportunities in education," Brooks said. "He will be missed by many and his family is in my prayers during this sad time. 

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)

Walorski called Bayh a "true statesman" in a tweet. 

"Generations of Hoosiers have felt the impact of his bold leadership, and he has left an icnredible legacy for our state and nation," she said. 

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody

Zody says Bayh's legacy endures every day. 

"Birch Bayh was driven by a belief in what we could accomplish given equal opportunity," Zody said in a statement. "He was a champion of Democratic values and was, in every way, a Hoosier. If you had the privilege of spending time with him when he was out helping Democratic candidates, he was always happy to share a story about his time in office. His public service is an example to all of us, and we will miss him very much." 

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels

Bayh graduated from Purdue University's School of Agriculture. 

"Birch Bayh qualifies for the mantle of greatness as a Boilermaker, Hoosier, and American in equal measure," Daniels said in a statement. "Even for a U.S. Senator, he made an unusual imprint on our nation’s history, personifying Indiana’s best qualities as he did so. I am grateful to have become his friend in his post-government life, and to have enjoyed his warmth, humor and wisdom firsthand."

IU President Michael McRobbie

Bayh received his J.D. degree from the IU Maurer School of Law in 1960 and an honorary degree from IU in 1995. 

"Over his decades of extraordinary service to Indiana and the nation, Birch Bayh was a public servant in the truest sense of that term," McRobbie said in a statement. "He invariably put the needs of his Hoosier constituents and our nation at the forefront of his own interestes and concerns, while exercising wise and deeply thought judgement in his unremitting search for justice." 

His son Evan Bayh, who also went into politics, graduated from IU's Kelley School of Business. 

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