(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar comments on the passing of former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar:

“Richard Lugar was the ultimate public servant and bipartisan leader. His impacts will be felt for generations to come in Indianapolis, our state, our nation and globally. He was an invaluable mentor to myself and thousands of others.”

Lugar was a two-time winner of the Indiana Chamber’s Government Leader of the Year award, including the inaugural honor in 1990. In an interview with the Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine (full story) upon his second honor in 2013, he shared the following:

State of Congress in 2013: “The current predicament is there are many members, and they are certainly very sincere about this – and many constituents who voted for them are very sincere – who take the position that the United States, with over $14 trillion in debt, various entitlement programs that have no particular future unless there are large reforms, they take the view first of all that they are for ‘limited government’; much less government not just at the federal level, but the state and local level, and much less spending. They take the view that it’s my way or the highway; essentially, if you do not agree with this curtailment of government spending and government action, then they’re not prepared to vote for any program.”

His outlook on the future: “I have an innate confidence that we will find solutions, that probably there will be different people coming into government. I think also that there will be more optimism in due course in the country as a whole. There is a disillusionment of many Americans, many older Americans, who simply do not find a great deal of hope for the future. They think that the best days of America may have come and gone. There’s anger out there.”

What he wants Hoosiers to say about Richard Lugar: “I attempted to answer that the other day when word came about the (Presidential) Medal of Freedom. I appreciated the wonderful loving but creative guidance of my parents Marvin and Bertha, and my brother Tom and sister Anne and how supportive they have been. I mention that because that has been a key factor along with the loving support of my wife, Char. We have continued to be supportive of each other through all the public life ups and downs and the raising of four wonderful sons, who I have enormous pride in and have great achievements of their own. These have been critical factors in my ability to serve. My family has wanted to be teammates in this and I’ve included them.”

The last time the Chamber reached out to Lugar was earlier this year, to discuss his colleague and good friend Jim Morris. He couldn’t wait to talk about Morris and also go down memory lane about his time as Indianapolis mayor:

“These were very, very important years in the life of Indianapolis because it was the beginning of the attempt to bring about Unigov, the consolidation of the city and the surrounding townships. Unigov was not just geographical and political change but it really signaled that Indianapolis was going to be one of the top 10 cities population wise and in many other ways in the United States of America.”


The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”