Jim Abdnor, a South Dakota Republican who built his reputation on working with farmers in his community, died on Wednesday of natural causes. He was 89 years old.
Abdnor came from a farming family and was proud of his background, which he said gave him insight into the lives of the families he was helping over the years.
"I'm a farmer," Abdnor said. "I've dug more field dirt out of my ears than anyone in Congress. I treasure that heritage."
Abdnor served on the Senate Appropriations Committee and said it was one of the highlights of his career because of the strength the group had in the community, due largely because of the importance of having someone represent the residents of such a small town.
He had already built quite a political career for himself when he won over %60 of the vote in 1980 to make it into the Senate, helping to usher in President Reagan. Abdnor had over 30 years in public service under his belt, and is remembered as a man who fought hard for the working man and had more friends than he could count.