1986 revolt figure Laxalt dies at 96

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Washington – Former Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt who became famous to Filipinos for helping end former President Ferdinand Marcos’s reign, has died, media reported. He was 96.

He told Marcos “time has come” and to “cut clean” as an advice for him to step down from power in 1986.

Laxalt also served as Ronald Reagan’s trusted liaison between the White House and Congress.

Laxalt died at a health care facility in Virginia, according to the public relations firm The Ferraro Group.

The conservative Republican had a storied political career, including a brief run for president in 1987. But he described that bid as “the four most miserable months of my life,” and in a 2000 interview with The Associated Press said he was happy to be out of politics.

No sibling rivalry

In the interview that focused on a memoir he wrote, Laxalt said he wasn’t trying to compete with his brother, the late, award-winning author Robert Laxalt, and planned to “hang onto my day work.”

Robert’s writing included “Sweet Promised Land,” his classic story about the Laxalts’ father, a Basque who left the Pyrenees in 1906 to herd sheep in the American West.
Paul Laxalt’s memoir told of his youth and rapid rise to political prominence in Nevada, his years as a U.S. senator, Reagan confidante, presidential aspirant and, finally, legal adviser and lobbyist.

Old-fashioned mold

Laxalt refused to write an insider’s “kiss-and-tell” account of the Reagan years. He said he wouldn’t retire on proceeds from the memoir because it avoided a salable mix of “gossip, sex or scandal.”

Laxalt’s successes in the political realm fit right into old-fashioned, log cabin American tradition.

Born in Reno and raised in Carson City, Laxalt first learned the Basque language of his immigrant parents. But once he learned English, he got an earful at the small hotel-restaurant his parents ran on Carson’s main street: lots of political talk, including bourbon-lubricated speeches from top elected officials who would show up for dinner and drinks.

WWII duty in PH

After surviving horrific World War II combat duty in the Philippines, Laxalt married Jackie Ross and went to law school. He returned to Carson and practiced law with Ross’ father, who later became a federal judge. He started his political career by getting elected district attorney in 1954.

Laxalt won his first statewide race, for lieutenant governor, in 1962. He lost a U.S. Senate race in 1964, but bounced back by winning the governor’s race in 1966.
“Not bad for a Basque sheepherder’s kid,” said Laxalt.

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