Former Dayton congressman remembers Colin Powell

DAYTON — When Dayton Democrat Tony Hall was in Congress he saw Colin Powell rise through the ranks in Washington over the years, mostly in Congressional hearings.

“I saw him in different stages, first as a Colonel. When he was in the White house, when he was a General, when he was in the Middle East,” Hall said.

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In an interview with WHIO-TV, Hall spoke on zoom from his home in Virginia about working with Powell and what it was like dealing with him.

“He was very professional. When he would walk into a room all eyes were on him. He was a man with authority,” Hall said.

Powell died Monday from COVID-19 at age 84. He had grown up in Harlem, New York and after college went on to a 35-year career in the Army. He served four Presidents and was named US Secretary of State by President George W. Bush.

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Hall and Powell crossed paths again when Hall was named US Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Powell, as Secretary of State, swore Hall into office.

“He was very charming with my family. He noticed that my uncle got a Bronze Star and they had a wonderful talk,” Hall said.

Hall said when he and other newly appointed ambassadors were in training, Powell told them that he wanted them to take the initiative to solve their own problems in their mission and not to call him to seek direction. Later, Hall and Powell met again.

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“He came to Rome where I was after about a year and a half, asked for a private meeting and said ‘You never did call me, never presented a problem. ‘I’m very proud of you’.

Hall said Powell normally did not like people to come into the job of Ambassador outside of a certain career path, “And he (Powell) said ‘You’ve done really well.

Thanks you for your service’ and I really appreciated that coming from a very professional man like Colin Powell,” Hall said, “He was an amazing man, a very interesting man.”