2006.06.04: June 4, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Norwich Bulletin: Bill Stanley writes: Presidential bid by Chris Dodd deserves hometown support

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: RPCV Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic) : RPCV Chris Dodd: Archived Stories: 2006.06.04: June 4, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Congress: Norwich Bulletin: Bill Stanley writes: Presidential bid by Chris Dodd deserves hometown support

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Bill Stanley writes: Presidential bid by Chris Dodd deserves hometown support

Bill Stanley writes: Presidential bid by Chris Dodd deserves hometown support

"Chris Dodd may prove the most ideal Democrat in the nation today to run for president. He has a reputation as a leader and a record of great accomplishment. There is a humanity in the man — developed, I suppose, by the example of a strong, courageous, principled father and a loving mother whose examples were exemplary." Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1960's.

Bill Stanley writes: Presidential bid by Chris Dodd deserves hometown support

Presidential bid deserves hometown support
For the Norwich Bulletin

Once upon a time, after World War II, a good man from Norwich was called upon to prosecute the Nazi war criminals in the famous Nuremberg Trials.

Born in Norwich but a resident of Lebanon in 1945, Thomas J. Dodd was a Justice Department member and one of the best. He also was a member of the FBI for a short time.

As in no other war before it, the crimes of World War II were horrendous. The chief justice of the United States Supreme Court would be the chief prosecutor, but the young lawyer from Norwich would become the executive trial counselor. Tom Dodd would become the number two man on the world stage prosecuting the most evil men on the planet.

Dodd grew up in Norwich and attended local schools and Norwich Free Academy. During the 1930s, he was appointed by President Roosevelt to head one of the many administrative programs during the Depression.

In the Nuremberg trial, the horrors of the crimes were almost impossible to describe in words. They used hundred of pictures and movies, but it was Dodd who brought the war crimes into focus. He presented to the jury a shrunken human head that had been enclosed in glass and was used as a paperweight in the office of a concentration camp warden. More than any spoken words, that shrunken head moved the jury, the spectators and the world. Returning after the trials, Dodd became a congressman and later Connecticut’s junior senator.

Tom Dodd was my mentor, a man who encouraged me in the 1950s to run for the Connecticut State Senate. I learned so much politics from this good man. Dodd was Connecticut’s senator who fought racial prejudice in America before anyone else had proposed a solution. Tom Dodd was so highly thought of that, in the 1960s, there was a popular song whose lyrics included the phrase, “We believe in God and Tom Dodd.”

Today, the memories and good works of Tom Dodd live on in the Dodd Center at the University of Connecticut. It is a center mostly used by the students, but also by educators and historians from all around the world.

Next generation
Now it has come to pass that this great man had five children, but one of them would follow in his footsteps. In the 1960s, Christopher Dodd took up residence on Huntington Place in Norwich after his years of public service in South America. Before long, Chris became our congressman. After several terms, he ran for the U.S. Senate, and today, like his father before him, Chris Dodd is Connecticut’s senior senator and a figure on the world stage.

Several weeks ago, Chris said he had the presidential itch. Now it is more than an itch. Today, he is considering seeking the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. There is nothing that would please me more than to have the next president of the United States be Christopher Dodd, a native of our Norwich. I wouldn’t rule it out for a whole host of reasons.

Chris Dodd may prove the most ideal Democrat in the nation today to run for president. He has a reputation as a leader and a record of great accomplishment. There is a humanity in the man — developed, I suppose, by the example of a strong, courageous, principled father and a loving mother whose examples were exemplary.

Chris Dodd grew up in a family where they had politics for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He witnessed his father change the world and rise from a poor Irish family in Norwich to Connecticut’s senior senator. Chris, like his father, is a statesman. He has the courage and loyalty that is needed in a great leader.

Like family

Chris Dodd, unlike other contenders for the nomination of president, has years of experience and, like his dad, close ties to presidents and respect of members of both parties.

To be sure, in Eastern Connecticut the Dodds are like family. All of us might well hope that our local boy, now a man of great influence, might be what this country needs to change our direction.

Hillary Clinton seems to be the favorite candidate at the moment, but then, Al Gore is making noises that he might run again. Others think John Kerry or a fellow named Warner from Virginia are interested.

Like his father, Chris is an orator and can stir an audience. He is a leader of men and, now, he’s also a family man with a most beautiful wife, Jackie, and two daughters. Jackie Dodd spoke in Norwich at the rededication of Samuel Huntington’s tomb. Jackie stole the show and was everyone’s favorite. She would make a wonderful first lady. Chris Dodd, the day of the dedication, had to vote on a Social Security bill, and so we in Norwich got to meet Jackie, who delivered his remarks with such class and sincerity.

In Norwich, Mayor Ben Lathrop, and co-chairmen Evelyn Bessette and Jackie Quercia are planning the 350th anniversary of this city in 2009. Among their greatest desires is to have the president of the United States visit Norwich on this special occasion. President William Howard Taft visited Norwich 100 years ago on our 250th anniversary.

Not since Huntington

There is only one thing I can think of that would be better than having the president visit Norwich. That better thing is to have the president of the United States be a man from Norwich. That hasn’t happened since another resident of Norwich, Samuel Huntington, became president in congress assembled, March 1, 1781, during the American Revolution.

As I said, we consider Chris Dodd family — all of us in Eastern Connecticut — as the Dodds’ fingerprints are on so many communities. Tom Dodd, was born in Norwich, as the Nuremberg prosecutor was a resident of Lebanon, but in this lifetime, Norwich, Stonington and Old Lyme have been blessed by his presence in residence.

One might also consider with a president of the United States a life-long resident of Eastern Connecticut, it might also spell a bit of security for our valuable submarine base and Electric Boat. Chris Dodd would bring to the office of president a respect the office deserves. He would bring years of experience, and he has learned to master diplomacy, as his father before him.

We, in America, and especially in Eastern Connecticut, would be well-served by a president named Chris Dodd. Many think it impossible, but I, for one, think if we, here in this hometown and region, got behind this man who served us so well in the Congress and the Senate, we might begin the process. Dodd would serve us with even greater purpose. Just the title has a wonderful ring about it, but, selfishly, like the mayor and the rest of us in Norwich, it would be so nice, as we celebrate our 350th anniversary in 2009, to be able to boast that this old town, so rich in history, would be able to take pride in the hometown of the president of the United States.

There may be those who think it is far-fetched, but I think starting with local support, it could happen. Very often, the thing that seems to be impossible comes to pass.

Bill Stanley’s new book, “9-Mile Square,” is available at The William W. Backus Hospital and Lawrence & Memorial Hospital gift shops, Magazines & More, Johnson’s Flower & Gift Shop in Norwich, Dime Savings Bank, Otis Library, Wonderland Books in Putnam, or by mail by calling 1-800-950-0331. You can reach Bill Stanley by e-mail at gatewayair@aol.com

When this story was posted in July 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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