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George McGovern "No Longer Responsive": Family

Former Senator Ran Against Nixon on Platform to End Vietnam War

Common Dreams staff


Former Senator and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern is "no longer responsive" and surrounded by family at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, his family said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

McGovern, 90, served in the U.S. Senate for South Dakota from 1963 to 1981. He made an unsuccessful bid to unseat incumbent President Richard Nixon in 1972 on a platform opposing the Vietnam war.

McGovern is best known for being a leading opponent of the Vietnam War, but he also worked tirelessly advocating for family farmers and in the battle against world hunger.

McGovern was first elected from South Dakota to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1957. He served as a Congressman for four years before running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1960.

McGovern then worked for two years as the director for the Food for Peace Program under President John F. Kennedy. He was instrumental in the creation of the United Nations-based World Food Programme in December 1961; it started distributing food to stricken regions of the world the following year and would go on to become the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide

McGovern's second run for the Senate was successful in 1962, and he was reelected three times, serving until 1980. In a speech on the Senate floor in September 1963, McGovern became the first member to challenge the growing U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.

McGovern became the Democratic Party's nominee for president in 1972 and ran a long-shot, grassroots-based campaign. However, President Richard Nixon won reelection with nearly 61 percent of the popular vote.

The family's statement:

"Senator George McGovern remains in care at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Senator is no longer responsive. He is surrounded by his loving family and close friends. Senator McGovern was admitted to hospice with a combination of medical conditions, due to age, that have worsened over recent months. The family would like to thank everyone for the care and compassion shown during this time. As people plan remembrances of Senator McGovern, the family encourages donations to Feeding South Dakota."

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