California's U.S. senators added their tributes this morning after the passing of Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia -- both for his standing as constitutional expert and his role as influential money broker.
In her statement, Sen. Barbara Boxer pointed out that Byrd, the longtime chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, came to California's aid.
"I will always be grateful for Senator Byrd's strong support for California - especially when our state was suffering through natural disasters - as well as his deep conviction to bring our troops home from Iraq," she said.
"The Senate has lost a giant and America has lost a real fighter for our working families," Boxer added.
"Robert Byrd's eloquence during his amazing tenure in the Senate will forever be a testament to his deep reverence for the Constitution and the importance of preserving the American dream, which he lived.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein called Byrd "one of the true legends" in U.S. political history, while gently alluding to the fact that Byrd once supported racial segregation.
"Senator Byrd, like the nation he represented, changed and evolved over the nine decades of his lifetime," she said in a statement.
"I shall perhaps remember Senator Byrd best for his ardent devotion to and consummate knowledge of the Constitution of the United States. I also had the privilege of serving with him on the Senate Appropriations Committee for many years," Feinstein added.
"This nation owes Senator Byrd a great debt of gratitude for his tremendous service. I know that I will very much miss his indomitable spirit, insightful guidance, and intense commitment to the Senate."