A picture of Senator Mitch McConnell
Mitch M.
Republican KY

About Sen. Mitch
  • Tribute to Departing Staffers

    by Senator Mitch McConnell

    Posted on 2015-02-12

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    McCONNELL. Mr. President, today I would like to pay tribute to two of the hardest working staffers in the Senate: John Ashbrook and Russell Coleman.

    Russell Coleman First, there is Russell, a dyed-in-the-wool Kentuckian. He is a huge Wildcats fan. The only words one associates with Russell more often than ``affable'' are these two: ``persuasive'' and ``determined.'' When Russell sets his mind to something, there is not much you can do to stop him--not that you would want to because he is one of the friendliest guys you will ever meet. More than a few times, you will see a group entering a meeting with Russell, spoiling for a fight. Then the door opens, and they are his best friends. It is quite a skill. It is nearly as impressive as this one: Russell Coleman knows just about everybody in Kentucky. His Rolodex is something to behold.

    He has done a lot of great work here in the Senate. This one-time FBI agent is passionate about law-enforcement issues. This one-time intern is passionate about mentoring others, letting those around him know, no matter how junior, that their contributions do matter.

    Russell is also a great fighter. That tough will has helped Russell push through adversity with grace and with grit. Faith is a big part of Russell's life too. It is something he shares with Chaplain Black every Friday in Bible study.

    Russell is ready to share more of himself, too, with his family, his wife Ashley and his children, Annie and Clay. They are all making the move back to Louisville. They will have a lot more time together, and I know they and Russell couldn't be happier.

    So congratulations, Russell, and thanks for your service.

    John Ashbrook Let me tell you about John Ashbrook. John has been with me since I first became Republican leader. He was a fresh-faced kid back then, a young guy from Cincinnati who wanted nothing more than to work in the White House. I am grateful he chose to work for me instead. I am grateful John was willing to transfer his allegiance across the Ohio River for the past 8 years because John Ashbrook is easy-mannered, matched with unbending will. You don't see that very often. He has been an important player on our staff not only for his professionalism but for his character too.

    John is known around the Capitol as a founding member of the Senate Republican Communications Center. With John's help, it has been a real success.

    The Capitol is going to be a different place without John's laughter echoing in the corridors. Every reporter knows his name. Every member of my staff knows his smile. It is pretty hard to miss.

    John, muffin in hand, is usually the first guy in every morning. Many hours later, he is often the last one out. I appreciate it deeply.

    I know John's wife Kate takes a somewhat different view. I can't blame her. Kate is ready for dinners without John's Blackberry at the table, and John is ready to spend more time with his three beautiful daughters--Margaret, Abigail, and Charlotte, all born during his service here. John's daughters and Kate mean everything to him, and I couldn't be happier that John will be seeing more of all of them very soon.


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