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Government Leaders Grieve Gwatney's Death

Senator Bill Gwatney's untimely shooting death at Arkansas democratic headquarters is hitting home across the state and even the nation. Howard Dean and Barack Obama released statements offering their prayers to Bill Gwatney's family. And here at home, for those who knew Bill Gwatney, the news is far more personal.
The office for the Democratic party of Arkansas will be closed until Monday. Late Wednesday afternoon the state party released a statement. "Bill Gwatney was our friend, our party's leader, and so many times our party's conscience. Our state and our party are better for all that Bill Gwatney has done." Senator Gwatney's untimely passing is hitting home across the state even the nation. Howard Dean and Barack Obama released statements offering their prayers to Bill Gwatney's family. And here at home, for those who knew Bill Gwatney, the news is far more personal.

Governor Beebe, grieving for the state, wrote, "Arkansas has lost a great son, and I have lost a great friend. There is deep pain in Arkansas tonight because of the sheer number of people who knew, respected and loved Bill Gwatney. Along with thousands of other Arkansans, Ginger and I are trying to come to terms such a shocking and senseless attack. We ask all Arkansans to keep the Gwatney family in your thoughts and prayers."

Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock said, "It is indeed a tragedy, not just for the city but for the entire state of Arkansas on the loss of Bill Gwatney." The death of the former state senator shook his legislative peers to the core. "I think we're all in great shock," said State Senator Shane Broadway. State Senator Bobby Glover told us, "As a colleague... a friend, I don't know anyone I have greater respect for." He added, "Whatever he told you, you could take as the truth."

And old friends like Bill and Hillary Clinton sent their grief across the miles. "We are deeply saddened by the news that Bill Gwatney has passed away. His leadership and commitment to Arkansas and this country have always inspired us and those who had the opportunity to know him. Our prayers are with his family during this time."

And U.S. Senators from Arkansas are experiencing total shock and sadness. U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln said, "Bill was a tireless worker for all Arkansans. This is a terrible tragedy for his family, his friends, and the state of Arkansas. He has been a close and valued friend to me and I am devastated that this senseless act has taken him from us. "
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