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Lieberman Laments Partisan Gridlock As Senate Career Wraps Up

Sen. Joseph Lieberman speaks after receiving an award from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in Washington - Dec. 19, 2012 (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Joseph Lieberman speaks after receiving an award from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in Washington – Dec. 19, 2012 (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) - On January 3, the 113th Congress will convene and it will be the first time since 1989 that Joseph Lieberman won’t be representing Connecticut in the U.S. Senate.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

Leading the effort to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and shaping the Clean Air Act are just two of the many accomplishments during decades of service.

But Lieberman, now 70, is especially proud of leading the effort to create the Department of Homeland Security.

“Particularly after 9/11/01, I was able to be in the center of just about everything we’ve done to reorganize and reform our government so nothing like 9/11/01 would happen again,” he told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

Colleagues from both sides of the aisle regard Lieberman as a principled Senator, one who routinely reaches across the aisle to find common ground.

Compromise, he says, these days rarely, if ever, happens on Capitol Hill. He was surprised how partisan things were when he arrived in 1989, but now he says compromise is nearly impossible.

He said that it is due, in part, to the fact that political campaigns never end.

“These days, it seems like the next campaign begins the day after Election Day and too often people, good people really, who… come to government in Washington with the best of intentions end up putting their parties interests ahead of the country’s interests,” he said.

He said the give and take among lawmakers must make a return.

“Hopefully it returns before some of the problems we have like our budget debt or like cyber security or climate change, before those things really become, not just problems, but crises or catastrophes,” he said.

Lieberman, who identifies himself as an independent, will be replaced by current U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, a Democrat.