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He valued and cared for the people of Missouri and his district more than they could ever possibly know.

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Senator Harold Caskey (D) at Truman Days in Kansas City as he was awarded the Jackson County Democratic Committee’s 2014 Senator Ronnie DePasco Public Service Award [2014 file photo].

Senator Harold Caskey (D), who represented the 31st Senatorial District in the Missouri General Assembly for 28 years, passed away on Thursday. He was my senator. I first met him twenty-three years ago.

Harold Caskey, always “Senator” to me, was one of the legislative giants, if not, the legislative giant, in the history of the Missouri Senate.

From Senator Claire McCaskill (D), a long time friend:

Claire100115

Claire McCaskill ‏@clairecmc
Senator Harold Caskey was a special man.Whip smart,strategic,loyal,&secretly a sweet softie.I learned so much from him.Prayers for Kay. 4:15 PM – 1 Oct 2015

Oh, yes, the Senator had a wickedly quick sense of humor, though he never “punched down.” He possessed a powerful intellect. And, along with all of his other formidable attributes, underneath it all, he was a teddy bear.

I had a number of adventures in politics with Senator Caskey, always fun and definitely an education.

He was a teacher. And he definitely schooled a lot of people.

On one visit to the Capitol in Jefferson City I stopped by the Senator’s office to say hello. He invited me into his office, with its hammered tin ceiling, and we talked. I took the opportunity to prattle on with my personal view about a legislative issue, long since forgotten in my mind, and the need to accept no compromise. The Senator listened to me quietly. His receptionist came in to announce it was time for his next meeting and as I rose to leave he told me, “Sit over there and don’t say anything.” As several other legislators and one statewide office holder entered the room he gestured toward me and said, “He’s with me.” I then spent the better part of an hour listening to serious legislators grapple with the complexities of getting that same issue I was concerned about through the realities of the legislative process. After their meeting concluded and they left I looked to the Senator and said, “You’re a teacher.” He smiled.

On another occasion my spouse and I were engaged in a day of some sort of political work when the Senator and Kay suggested we drive to a place to eat, a place with good food they said, somewhere at a crossroad near a town in rural Missouri I had never heard of. I had no idea where this town or restaurant were located. My spouse and Kay got in their car, the Senator and I in my vehicle – the plan was for us to follow Kay. Of course, Kay took off and I lost them. I thought, oh my God, I’m on a county road in rural Missouri, I have no idea where I am, and my companion is blind. The Senator started giving me detailed instructions, including telling me where to turn and in what direction long before I was aware of any approaching intersection. We got there in good time. Oh, and by the way, the meal was excellent. The pie was even better.

Senator Caskey always knew where he was, he always knew where he needed to go, and he always knew how to get there.

My condolences to Kay and Kyle and all of the Senator’s family. Missouri will miss him greatly. I will miss him.