One of former President Ronald Reagan’s “inner circle” is now a prominent member of the Colorado Springs community. Donald Hodel is the current president of Focus on the Family. But years ago, he served as President Reagan's Secretary of the Interior and Energy.
It's been a long time since Hodel has had any contact with his former boss. But he still marvels at his leadership abilities. He served as Undersecretary of the interior between 1981 and 1982. Then, he was Energy Secretary. And during President Reagan’s second term in office, Hodel was Secretary of the Interior.
He remembers a firm but fair leader. "He knew who he was. He knew what he believed and he had a strong faith.”
Hodel also remembers an incredibly popular president. In El Paso County, President Reagan won 63% of the votes in his first campaign and garnered 72% for his re-election bid. But Hodel says President Reagan never thought of his position as a popularity contest. "He knows that 35% of the American people will not like him no matter what he does and he doesn't worry about that. He tries to carry out what he pledged to do."
And Hodel marvels at the way he fought through a tough time---a seemingly invincible Soviet Union, double-digit inflation and a lack of confidence in the country and its leaders. "He restored our confidence. He restored our economy and our change shaped our attitudes."
That is why, more than 15 year after leaving office, Hodel still “hails his chief.” "It is great for the nation to remember him, and then to mourn, then to be joyful about what he did and recommit ourselves to carrying on that path."
Hodel will head to Washington to participate in President Reagan's funeral on Friday.