George McGovern leaves legacies of principle and courage across the board. Robert Kennedy once said McGovern was the most decent man he had ever known. I admired McGovern for many reasons, but the one that counts most for me in particular is that he picked up the mantle on American hunger after RFK was murdered and led the way to the food stamp program we have today – eradicating the near-starvation of children that we discovered in our country in the 1960s and achieving an enormous success in our public policy.
McGovern is no doubt known more for his unsuccessful run for the presidency and his steadfast opposition to the war in Vietnam, but he had a lifelong concern for food and nutrition and especially about feeding the hungry across the world. After Robert Kennedy died, McGovern got the Senate to establish a special committee on hunger and nutrition and stayed with it through the better part of the 1970s until food stamps had become a fully mature and successful national program.
I will remember George McGovern on many counts, but personally more than anything else I will hold closest to my heart his enormous contribution to bringing an end to severe malnutrition for millions of children in our nation.