Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act of 2014—Continuedby Senator Cory A. Booker
Posted on 2014-12-11
BOOKER. Mr. President, I can't leave the floor without speaking
to Mary. Mary has been such an incredible inspiration to me. I have
been in the Senate now for 13 months, and I have had a number of
conversations with her, but the best way to teach somebody is to show
Senator Landrieu is prodigiously persuasive, tirelessly tenacious, doggedly determined. Just to watch Senator Landrieu is to watch what every American should hope for in a Senator--someone who is unyielding in their work and service to them.
[[Page S6651]] If you look at the myriad of interests in the State of Louisiana, I was amazed by what I saw firsthand. Mary stood up and fought for the people who were loud and ornery but still had a good cause as well as the people who were voiceless and humble. Mary stood up for them. Mary stood up for people in her community who were from every different background and from every different race. Mary stood up to them in a way that is a model to my State.
I heard my senior Senator mention you by name about how essential you were when my State had its back against the wall and crushed by a superstorm. When there were battles to get my State's funding, and Mary had no skin in that game, my senior Senator mentioned you as a champion for New Jersey and that is what blows me away about you.
I yearn for a government that has moral courage, more than we have now, people who will risk popularity for purpose and will risk substance for some kind of celebrity. Senator Landrieu has done things against her political interests, but that were for the people. That is why I have a great deal of reverence for you and why I travel down to your State.
Now the Senator knows this because I must have said it hundreds of times when I was down in Louisiana, that that is my ancestral State. I will end by saying this: My grandaddy was born in Monroe. He was born poor. As my family likes to say, he was so poor he couldn't afford to be poor, he was po, P-O. He was born to a single mama. He was born Black at a time of immense segregation, when people who walked the hallways of power couldn't give a damn about him. He taught me love for your State, and more importantly, the urgency to stand up and fight for those people that most folks won't fight for.
I am telling you right now, my grandaddy died during my first big election, but if he knew you, he would be so proud of your service.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.