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Courageous Gov. Ryan

August 14, 2001

I was very sorry to read that Illinois Gov. George Ryan will be stepping down from politics after the current term (Aug. 9). His moratorium on the death penalty last year was the single most courageous political act on the part of any elected politician, Republican or Democrat, in the country. In my view Ryan did this not because it was politically advantageous--it wasn't--but because it was the right thing to do.

You report that this lost him support. Through that one act he showed more leadership than George W. Bush has shown in his entire career. It's a shame that a man who stole a national election can stay in office and dismantle the government with impunity, while a man of courage, responsibility and leadership like Ryan has to step down because of a years-old bribery scandal in which he was never even implicated.

Elizabeth Hornbeck

Santa Monica

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