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Harry R.
Democrat NV

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  • Remembering Dale Bumpers

    by Senator Harry Reid

    Posted on 2016-01-11

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    REID. Mr. President, on another subject, I had the good fortune yesterday to attend the funeral of Dale Bumpers in Little Rock, AR. The ceremony lasted almost 2 hours. It was a stunningly spiritual, humorous, and historical occasion.

    Dale Bumpers performed at that desk back there by the exit of this door. He had an extra long extension cord, and he traipsed around back there, walking back and forth, speaking only as he could do. It is what we do here in the Senate. Based on seniority, everyone moves forward. He served here for a quarter of a century, but he never wanted to leave that space back there because that was his place to inform the public about how he felt about different issues.

    Coming from the Presiding Officer's State, he was a man who didn't fit the mold necessarily of what a lot of people expected of a Senator, but he was a giant killer politically. He defeated Orval Faubus after he had been in a governorship in the State of Arkansas for many years-- a famous man; he beat him. Four years later, he beat William Fulbright, a longtime Member of the U.S. Senate and one of the most prominent, famous Senators in the history of the country. Then he started 24 years of service here in the Senate.

    I have great admiration for Dale Bumpers. The speeches and eulogies given yesterday were remarkable. His son Brent spoke for a short period of time. Former Senator David Pryor spoke for quite a while and talked about things they did together, the work they did on behalf of Arkansas.

    At the Pryor Center, they are doing a recorded history of how people feel about Senator Bumpers. I had the ability to give my view. I said that I did not know of a Senate delegation with more power than Bumpers and Pryor had for the State of Arkansas during my more than three decades of service here in the Capitol. I have never seen two people who had as much power and prestige for a State as Bumpers and Pryor had.

    I am very fortunate that Landra and I were able to attend that funeral and listen to the eulogies given by Pryor and then, of course, by President Bill Clinton. It is too bad that the entire service couldn't have been recorded because it was hilarious. He was an extremely funny man and a man who taught me a lot about the Senate. I have missed him for a long time, and I will always remember him for a number of reasons, not the least of which was his ability to speak.


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