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Clinton aide Carol Willis remembered as key in black-voter efforts

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Photographs by Democrat-Gazette file photo

FILE PHOTO: Carol Willis in 2014

Carol D. Willis, a longtime aide to former President Bill Clinton, died Tuesday in Little Rock.

Full statement from Bill Clinton on death of Carol Willis

I loved Carol Willis. We met more than 40 years ago when he was a student at the University of Arkansas Law School and I was teaching there. At a time when African-Americans were just beginning to attend the school in substantial numbers, he was a voice for inclusion and was an important part of my efforts to help more African-American students earn law degrees there.

From the time I entered state politics until I left the White House, he was one of my most effective and trusted campaign aides and advisors. He was a brilliant political organizer who really cared about people and making sure that their voices were heard. He was also a good, loyal friend who was never afraid to speak hard truths if I needed to hear them. He always had my back, in victory and defeat. In the toughest times, he could always make me laugh. The harder the fight, the better he did.

And no matter how busy he was, he was always willing to be a mentor to younger people, especially African-Americans, looking to get involved in politics and make a difference. His legacy will live on in his beloved Arkansas and across the country through the many people he inspired and whose lives he touched.

Indispensable in campaigns, full of down-home wisdom, a real friend. That was Carol Willis.

Carol lived a good, full life, and Hillary and I will always be grateful to have shared so much of it with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joyce and their family.

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