LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Although he didn't have Kentucky roots, Colin Powell had several connections to Kentucky.
Former State Auditor and Kentucky Secretary of State Bob Babbage was nominated by Senator Mitch McConnell and named by Powell to the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee during the Bush administration.
"This was a small collection of people whose job it was to bring culture into America from our friends, and those that we didn't have the best of relationships with as well as to export our culture for different experiences, music, art," said Babbage.
While they never developed a personal relationship, Babbage says it was an honor to work under someone he deeply respected.
"Just being even near in a spot where Secretary Powell was to hear him speak in Washington and around the country. He spoke with an economy of words very precisely and with much authority, and I would say dignity in the way. He just came across as an exceptional person, and he was," said Babbage.
From afar, Babbage got a sense of what kind of person Powell was.
"He had a tremendously strong presence and persona and a marvelous intellect to go with it, along with a code of honor that was driven by his military experience," said Babbage.
For that reason, he says his death is a loss for not only Kentucky but the entire nation.
"In contrast to some of our experiences, these days where we can't agree can't pull together, can't unite, Powell was a force for good. He was a force for progress. He was a force, certainly for equity, but he was a great force for the United States," said Babbage.