Former Minnesota Sen. Rod Grams has entered hospice care at his home in Crown, Minn., following the worsening of an April 2012 cancer diagnosis.
The 65-year-old came to Capitol Hill in 1993 as a Republican member of the House and was elected to the Senate after serving one term. He returned home to Minnesota in 2001, after losing his re-election bid to Democrat Mark Dayton, who is now governor.
“It’s just a lot of fun. I kind of rant and rave a little bit now and then,” he said in the interview. “Being a conservative Republican, I’ve got a slant to my perspective.”
Minnesota GOP activist Ken Kaiser, who volunteered for Grams on his 1992 House race, has been speaking on behalf of the Grams family. He said Grams left the radio show only “a few weeks ago” and entered hospice care “within the past couple of weeks.” Grams is with his wife on the family farmstead where he grew up.
“He’s still very upbeat, still gets around the house and still has company coming over,” Kaiser said, adding that Grams is “still pretty good, very tired though,” and that he had only recently decided to suspend chemotherapy. The Grams family does not want to disclose the specific type of cancer.
“His was the story of an ordinary guy coming to Congress,” Kaiser said of Grams, saying he was a “calming influence” in the Washington debate and worked well even with political opposites, such as his Minnesota counterpart, the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone.
“Whenever you talked to him, you knew exactly where he was coming from. You could talk to him about the opposing view and he was always amiable,” Kaiser said.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.