Former U.S. Rep. John Myers of Covington, Ind., who represented western Indiana for 30 years in Congress, died Tuesday morning in his Fountain County home. He left a legacy of service few can match.
Myers’ focus on Capital Hill was to serve his constituents — his neighbors — as best he could. Unlike today’s political strategy of extreme partisanship with little accomplished, Myers showed a willingness to compromise if there was a benefit to his district. While that might not have made him a favorite among his party’s leaders — he left Congress after being snubbed by then Speaker Newt Gingrich for a committee chairmanship — it made him popular with his constituents who sent him back to Congress time after time after time.
True public servants don’t posture just to gain media coverage or spout irresponsible or inflammatory rhetoric in an effort to show how “tough” they try to be. The real public servants quietly go about the work of crafting legislation to resolve issues in a way that benefits as many people as possible. Myers did that as often as he could while staying true to his principles.
When he finished his time in Congress, he didn’t become an “expert” on talk shows or tout his significant resume for personal gain as a speaker or board member. He just returned to his Fountain County farm and lived a quiet life.
John Myers created a record of public service few can match. Let’s hope today’s members of Congress learn a few lessons from his example.