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Bob G.
Republican VA 6

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  • Paying Tribute to the Honorable Howard Coble

    by Representative Bob Goodlatte

    Posted on 2014-11-12

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    GOODLATTE. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding.

    Mr. Speaker, it is just a real honor to be here tonight to tell my friend, Howard Coble, how much he means to me and how much I am going to miss him here in the House of Representatives.

    He has not only been an outstanding leader on the House Judiciary Committee--and by the way, I hope the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones) will compile all those wonderful photographs and put them in some kind of a binder so that--a book maybe, so that all of us can see and enjoy all those historic caricatures that have been created in Howard's honor over these many years--but not only has he been a great member of the House Judiciary Committee, he has been a close personal friend of mine for more than 20 years.

    In addition to serving with him on the committee, he is somebody who is always turning to others, taking an interest in them. He has an uncanny ability to remember the mascots for virtually any high school or college that someone attended and his ability to always ask others how they are feeling.

    With respect to this last point, he has defused more than a few difficult conversations by asking people, ``How is your back feeling?'' Inevitably, especially if someone is older, they begin to talk about back problems and forget what they were so exercised about.

    He is also a great tennis player. For nearly 20 years, I have had the honor of playing tennis with him very early on Wednesday mornings. Howard isn't known for moving around the court really fast, but the thing about him is he always was there where you hit the ball, and he always put it back just exactly where he wanted it to go, an amazing accomplishment. So Howard, thank you very much for that.

    I want to tell one story in conjunction with a field hearing that took place in Nashville--Howard is a great fan of bluegrass music and country music in general--a field hearing that took place in Nashville when the Fairness in Music Licensing bill was under consideration in the late 1990s, a meeting was arranged with Garth Brooks.

    Howard, who was serving as the then-subcommittee chairman, was a lifelong fan of bluegrass and traditional country music. He didn't really know who Brooks was and was far more interested in arranging a meeting with Grandpa Jones from the Grand Ole Opry, but he knows who he is now. In fact, Garth is making a comeback; and, Howard, you will enjoy many, many more opportunities to enjoy the music that you love.

    He would always ask me how things were in the Star City, which is my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, and took an interest in me and what I was doing.

    On the committee, as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, where he serves now and has served on a number of occasions in the past, he stood very strong for the rights, the private property rights of people who are creators of music and motion pictures and great products that they seek patents on and so on.

    His work will serve for a long time in the future to protect that great American incentive to create and create jobs. His work has created many jobs for many Americans.

    He is a true son of the Sixth District of North Carolina. I am from the Sixth District of Virginia, but in his case, he is a lifelong son of the Sixth District, having been born in Greensboro, educated in the Sixth District, and been a county attorney and an assistant U.S. attorney. He has been a revenuer with the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

    What I didn't know was that his first 6 years in his professional life, he was a claims adjuster for the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. So here, in the closing days of his service, I am still learning new things about my friend, Howard Coble.

    Howard, thank you very much for not only being my friend and a great colleague to all of us here in the House, but for being a great American. Thank you, and God bless you.

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