Nebraskans lost a plainspoken statesman Friday, one who rarely wavered in the face of criticism.
Former U.S. Rep. John Y. McCollister, a World War II Navy man, meant what he said. His style of studying and staking a position regardless of the politics is a lost art in modern Washington.
And that’s a shame.
He served the Omaha area for three terms in the U.S. House from 1971 to 1977, but his reach in Nebraska politics stretched far beyond his service on the House Commerce Committee or on the Douglas County Board. And after his final election battle, he continued serving his community, helping organizations such as the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
For a generation of Nebraska Republicans, he was a spiritual leader of sorts, a voice for principle in a time of equivocation. One of his protegés, a young staffer by the name of Chuck Hagel, accomplished what McCollister had not, winning a U.S. Senate seat. The mentor was proud.
Midlanders share in the sorrow expressed by Hagel, Gov. Dave Heineman, Sen. Deb Fischer and many others for a lion of Nebraska politics gone home.