Clem McSpadden, whose career ranged from public service to rodeo announcing, was praised by former and present political leaders Tuesday as a committed public servant who loved Oklahoma. Tributes to the late state senator and congressman came from members of both political parties in Congress and the Oklahoma Legislature. U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, scheduled a moment of silence Tuesday evening on the U.S. House of Representatives floor to honor and remember McSpadden's life. McSpadden, 82, was a lobbyist who could discuss problems created by the Legislature such as the use of "shell bills” that have no substantive language in them until they and many other similar bills are dumped on legislators' desks when there's little time to read them. Former state Sen. Stratton Taylor of Claremore probably best described how well known McSpadden was in Oklahoma. "He was one of those people who only needed one name. Anywhere you went in Oklahoma, if someone said, ‘Clem,' they knew who you were talking about. He was a great mentor to me. I got to page for him as an 11-year-old when he was Pro Tem, and he made me feel like the most important person in the Capitol. Later when I had the privilege of having that same office he had, I realized how busy he must have been that day, but he took time to make an 11-year-old boy from Alluwe (a former school district) feel important,” said Taylor, a Democrat who represented the same district McSpadden had represented years before. People knew him from various walks of life, he said. "He was one of the last links to true Oklahoma history, having grown up on the Will Rogers ranch and ridden to school on a horse,” Taylor said. Gov. Brad Henry said McSpadden was not only respected in political circles but was known and admired as a legendary rodeo announcer who loved the sport and carried on the tradition of the West. "Clem McSpadden was a true Oklahoman, a dear friend and a deeply committed public servant who loved the state of Oklahoma and its people, and he spent his life working to make a difference in the lives of those around him,” Henry said. "Through his work in the Oklahoma Legislature and in Congress, Clem helped to build the great state we know today.”
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Remembering Clem McSpadden"Last night Oklahoma lost one of its finest cowboys, Clem McSpadden. He was a worthy successor to the Will Rogers mantle, and a legend in his own right. Clem McSpadden loved his country and his state and served them both with honor and dignity. We will dearly miss him.” State Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City "Clem McSpadden was a cherished mentor and adviser to me and so many other elected leaders across Oklahoma. He was a state legislator, U.S. congressman, businessman, rancher, long-time rodeo announcer, and always remained a devoted public servant to his community, state and country.” U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee "Clem was related to Will Rogers, and no one since Will has better exemplified the true character of an Oklahoman than Clem McSpadden. His quiet leadership and homespun style will be missed in the halls of government, the rodeo community and coffee shops across the state.” Attorney General Drew Edmondson "Oklahoma lost a real champion... with the passing of Clem McSpadden. His contribution to this state will be realized for years to come, and our people are better off today because he gave his heart to making Oklahoma a better place to live, work and raise a family.” State Sen. Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater "Clem McSpadden's contributions to our state are immeasurable, and he has left a lasting imprint on the lives of countless Oklahomans. I always thought Clem was larger than life. He would call to mind John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart, the great names of our past and present who captured our hearts and minds with their work. State Rep. Danny Morgan, D-Prague "Clem was a tremendous Oklahoman, legendary for what he accomplished in two of the toughest arenas — politics and professional rodeo. He was a great champion for the growth and development of northeastern Oklahoma.” State Sen. Sean Burrage, D-Claremore