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President Bush, others Texas politicians remember Colin Powell as 'a great public servant'

Powell was the first African American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state.

DALLAS — Colin Powell, the former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state, is being remembered by several public figures in Texas as a "great public servant" and a "great man."

Powell, 84, died from COVID-19 complications his family shared in an announcement on social media Monday. Family said he had been fully vaccinated, but had an underlying condition; he was being treated for blood cancer for a few years. 

Powell, who was the first African American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state.  

Tributes to Powell flooded online. Here are some of them:

President George W. Bush

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell. He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience. He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my Administration. He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad. And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man."

Gov. Greg Abbott

"Cecilia & I send our condolences to Colin Powell's family at this time. General Powell served our country with dignity as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs & then as Secretary of State. May he rest in peace."

Sen. Ted Cruz

Heidi and I send our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of General Colin Powell during this time of mourning. As our nation’s first African American Secretary of State, Powell’s life was as historic as it was extraordinary. In his tenure as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and throughout his remarkable career, General Powell dedicated his life to the defense and security of our nation. We will always remember the life and contributions of such a distinguished public servant and a proud American soldier.

Sen. John Cornyn

Today our nation lost an exemplary leader and steadfast advocate in Colin Powell. General Powell served America bravely on the front lines, and thoughtfully as a senior military and diplomatic advisor to four U.S. Presidents.

He helped guide our country through many difficult times, & his contributions revolutionized our national defense strategy. Today we should all remember a man who embodied the best of what it means to be an American, & who dedicated his life to defending our most basic values.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw

"God Bless Colin Powell and his family today. May this exemplary public servant Rest In Peace."

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

"Colin Powell served our nation with grace and dignity, first as a soldier and then a chief diplomat. He brought to these roles a strategic mind, a level of professionalism, and a sense of compassion. My thoughts are with his family as they mourn his loss."

Rep. Al Green

"Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was the dean of diplomacy and the Polaris of politics at the heart of the sensible center. May he rest in eternal peace."

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson

"Colin Powell was a giant. I have long admired him, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend some time with him before the pandemic in 2020. He was kind, thoughtful, and gracious. I will always cherish that memory."

David Valdez, former White House photographer

"I woke up this morning and heard that...I actually choked up a little bit," David Valdez told WFAA.

Valdez's connection to General Colin Powell goes all the way back to the first Bush Administration.

He was the official White House photographer who saw a general who treated everyone, president or photographer, the same.

"He was chairman of the joint chiefs and went on to be secretary of state, but I always knew in my heart that he was just a regular guy."

Merrie Spaeth, political consultant

Merrie Spaeth's connection to Colin Powell goes back to the 1980s and the White House Fellows Program.

"[He was] very committed to diversity and inclusion way before those words became popular..." she told WFAA. "But if I could channel him for a minute, he would say he doesn't want to be remembered as the first person of color, but yet as another person, another general of excellence and loyalty. And he certainly excelled at those things."

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

"His priority was doing the best job for America," former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison told WFAA.

"I'm not a person that likes to be a woman senator or a woman ambassador. I want to be a great senator. A great ambassador. That's what Colin Powell did.

"He wanted to be the secretary of state or the chairman of the joint chiefs that made a mark, that did much for our country."