A picture of Representative Andy Barr
Garland B.
Republican KY 6

About Rep. Garland
  • Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser

    by Representative Andy Barr

    Posted on 2013-01-23

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    BARR. Mr. Speaker, when I graduated from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky, just over 20 years ago, I had little notion that I would stand before you today occupying the seat which the Great Compromiser himself once held.

    Henry Clay was first elected to this House in 1811 becoming the only person elected as Speaker the same day he took office. During his remarkable four decades on the national stage, he steered America through a daunting array of crises, each of which might have shattered the Union absent his remarkable leadership.

    Indeed, Henry Clay demonstrated that an unwavering dedication to principle and a practical commitment to compromise are not incompatible values. They are, instead, the tools of statesmanship, the implements of progress, and the guardians of freedom.

    He was Abraham Lincoln's ``beau ideal of a great man.'' Eulogizing Clay in 1852, Lincoln called him ``the man for a crisis,'' declaring that Clay ``desired the prosperity of his countrymen partly because they were his countrymen, but chiefly to show the world that freemen could be prosperous.

    Henry Clay understood the indispensable link between liberty, prosperity, and basic human dignity. His struggle to harness our system of checks and balances to serve these goals echoes across the generations. The process was messy, and the path ahead was fraught with danger and uncertainty; but the Great Compromiser governed in the national interest without comprising himself or forgetting who sent him there.

    Mr. Speaker, I am honored, indeed I am awed, by the legacy of Henry Clay and the exceptional men who followed him; but I did not come here as the self-styled heir to that legacy.

    {time} 1340 Instead, I came here as a father concerned about his children's future. I came here as a Kentuckian determined to fight for my State's signature industries. And I came here as an American committed to restoring the American Dream.

    My district, in central and eastern Kentucky, offers a panoramic view of the values, dreams, and passions that have animated our Nation since its beginnings. Historically anchored in Kentucky's bluegrass region, the Sixth District now extends to the Appalachian foothills, bordering the coalfields of the Cumberland Plateau.

    We are perhaps most recognized as the horse capital of the world. Indeed, the world came to Kentucky just over 2 years ago when Lexington hosted the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Yet that event offers just the latest example of our State's deep integration with the global economy.

    Georgetown, Kentucky, is home to the largest Toyota manufacturing facility outside of Japan, a facility which provides 7,000 well-paying jobs that produces the Camry, the most popular American-made car in the United States.

    These jobs in turn rely upon some of the lowest electricity costs in the Nation, which Kentucky's coal industry makes possible. Having endured the astonishing assault of the war on coal during the last 4 years, Kentucky's coal industry continues to offer the reality of affordable energy today and the promise of an affordable, reliable, and clean source of American energy for centuries to come.

    Kentuckians are also capitalizing upon our State's enormous potential for tourism through creative initiatives like the Bourbon Trail, which now draws an estimated 400,000 visitors every year. We are introducing the world to our special distilling heritage.

    The Sixth District offers a number of historic treasures, such as Daniel Boone's settlement, Fort Boonesborough, and in Frankfort, even our new State capitol and executive mansion are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Plus, tourists and residents alike can enjoy natural attractions of stunning majesty, such as Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge, and Cave Run, which provide almost limitless opportunities for outdoor recreation.

    The Sixth District also remains home to a diverse and thriving agricultural economy. We are best known for tobacco, but many people may not know that Kentucky possesses more head of cattle than any State east of the Mississippi.

    These industries are supported with colleges and universities filled with outstanding teaching and research professionals. Institutions like the University of Kentucky--my alma mater--Eastern Kentucky University, Transylvania University, Kentucky State University, Georgetown College, Midway College, and the members of our community and technical college system.

    The University of Kentucky is well-known for its proud tradition of college basketball, having won eight national championships, most recently in 2012.

    Underlying all of these success stories is the unique pride and attachment to place that distinguishes Kentuckians wherever you find us. Our State's pioneer heritage survives as the well-spring of our determination to survive and excel against overwhelming odds. No matter the challenge, we will persevere. We will lead. And with God's help, we will prosper together.

    [[Page H253]] Mr. Speaker, I am humbled beyond measure to represent a people who embody the spirit, the generosity, and the creativity that define America's greatness. I pray that my service proves equal to their trust.

    Through the lens of time, Henry Clay appears larger than life, yet our Republic has a habit of producing the right men and women at the right time. Together, let's strive after Henry Clay's model of leadership. Given the gravity of our challenge, each of us must.

    With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


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