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A donation of history

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Editorial: April 19, 2013

ISSUE: Ron Lewis' Congressional papers
OUR VIEW: University uniquely ready for gift

 

Ron Lewis recently stepped out of his role as retiree and grandfather and briefly returned to the spotlight at Campbellsville University.

He was celebrated for serving nearly 15 years in the U.S. House of Representatives as his Congressional papers were accepted formally into the research archives at the college’s Montgomery Library.

The ceremony recounted Lewis’ victory in a special Congressional election to replace the late William Natcher, a Democrat who had served for generations. Despite campaigning against a noted Democratic figure from the same home county, Lewis won the seat. His victory is said to have foreshadowed a Republican surge that pushed the party into national leadership roles that fall.

He would go on to gain respect personally and professionally in the halls of Washington. During his term, he served on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee where most revenue bills originate.

During an April 8 ceremony in Campbellsville, Lewis’ efforts on behalf of the mission at Fort Knox and the tobacco buyout bill were singled out for praise.

Now scholars interested in that period will be able to explore and access his thought processes and glimpse behind-the-scenes insight of history unfolding.

Thanks also go to the university and Dr. Glen Taul, its archivist. Taul has dedicated years in cataloging, indexing and organizing the papers. The volumes filled 87 boxes that are now part of CU’s permanent collection.

A graduate of Morehead State University who did master’s work at the University of Kentucky and studied for the ministry at the Southern Theological Seminary, Lewis went on to serve in the pulpit of rural Baptist churches and operate a Christian bookstore in Elizabethtown before his election.

While other schools expressed interest in his papers, it was obvious that Taul’s work and Lewis’ personal connection with CU Vice President John Chowning, a member of Lewis’ D.C. staff, were key reasons for the university’s selection.

Campbellsville University was both interested, willing and uniquely capable of handling this gift and is most deserving of its position as the repository of this notable collection.


This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.