A lot has changed in the last 56 years and 320 days since West Virginia Sen. Robert C. Byrd first took office. On Wednesday he became the longest-serving lawmaker in congressional history, breaking a record previously held by Carl Hayden of Arizona, who served in the House and then the Senate from 1912 to 1969. Byrd, who turns 92 next week, has been in office long enough to rescind his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and repeatedly voice his regret about joining the Ku Klux Klan an eternity ago. Setting records isn't new to the Democratic senator. Since June 12, 2006, he's been the longest-serving senator and later that year he was elected to what the Associated Press called an "unprecedented ninth term." In addition to having been elected to more leadership positions than any senator in history, Byrd has cast more than 18,000 votes over the years and boasts an average attendance record of 98 percent, despite his currently poor health.
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