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U.S. Senator Robert Byrd on Leadership


Senator Robert Byrd displays a copy of the U.S. Constitution before a ribbon cutting ceremony held at the newly renovated federal building in Wheeing, West Virginia, on June 24, 2005.
(Photo: Scott McCloskey/The Wheeling Intelligencer/AP Wide World)
West Virginia's Robert Byrd has served as a U.S. Senator for 57 years. He spoke to Scholastic Student Reporter Alonzo Webb recently about the Constitution and leadership. Alonzo asked Senator Byrd what qualities make a great leader.

"I would say a good leader is honest. A good leader would state his views; he'll be perfectly frank about what he thinks and he will demonstrate qualities that will draw other women and men to him. Now, when I say he, there can be women leaders, too. There have been great women leaders. There have been great women throughout history. Both men and women have the qualities of leadership.

"Great leaders know about history. Leaders will know a lot about history. History will tell us about what happened in the past and that will tell us what to do about events today. History really does repeat itself.

"As you study history, you are going to study American history and you're going to know more about the Constitution. I hope you will continue to study and try to make good grades in all your studies, because it pays off.

"Education is something that is the greatest thing; it helps us as young people, and helps us in our old age. The more education you get the better your life will be and the more influence you will have."