Dr. Joseph De Soto of Gerrardstown, former president of the Berkeley County Republican Club, said he'd already been in touch with the late senator's office Monday morning to express his sympathy.
done more for the people of West Virginia than anyone else in our state's history.
And I also think he's the greatest senator this country has ever had," De Soto
said, stressing Byrd's
ability to also work with Republicans
over the years.
De Soto credited Byrd for having helped fund many of the state's health care facilities, saying, "They wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for him."
As folks look back on Byrd's life and career, De Soto
is hoping they will make an effort to understand the circumstances surrounding his
brief association with the Ku Klux Klan as a young man.
"We have to remember that (the KKK) in addition to being associated with racist activities at that time, its other focus at that time was anti-communism, and when he
was involved, i was at the height of the Cold War.
Having talked to him, I'm Jewish and my wife is a person of color; he
never showed any signs of racism," De Soto
"In fact, he
personally told me that was the greatest mistake of his
'd only gotten taken in because of the Klan's anti-communism stance," he said.