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Claire M.
Democrat MO

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  • Tribute to Jim Symington

    by Senator Claire McCaskill

    Posted on 2013-02-28

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    McCASKILL. Madam President, I ask the Senate to join me today in honoring the work of Jim Symington, a friend and dedicated public servant who is retiring this year. In the summer of 1974 I came to Washington as an intern for Congressman Jim Symington. That experience, and the lessons I learned from this great leader were instrumental in my success as a political candidate and public official.

    As a member of a family steeped in public service, and as the son of the great United States Senator Stuart Symington, Jim did not hesitate to take up the mantle of serving his country. Jim started his career serving others when he enlisted in the Marine Corps as a high school graduate. Following his military service, Jim earned his Bachelor's degree from Yale University and his law degree from Columbia Law School.

    Jim served for 2 years following law school as the assistant city counselor for St. Louis before going into private practice. In 1958, Jim entered the Foreign Service where he served as assistant to the United States ambassador for the United Kingdom. Upon his return to Washington, DC Jim served our Government in various positions including administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the Chief of Protocol for the Department of State.

    In 1968 Jim was elected to represent St. Louis, Missouri's 2nd Congressional District, where he served four terms. During his time in Congress, Jim served on the House Commerce Committee and the Committee on Science and Technology. He also served as the chair of the Subcommittees on Space Science and Applications; Science, Research & Technology; and International Cooperation. He was an active voice on space exploration during a time when space exploration was a central topic. Upon leaving Congress in 1977, Jim returned to private law practice, and has had a distinguished legal career at Nossaman LLP/ O'Connor & Hannan here in Washington, DC.

    However Jim Symington has never been an ordinary practicing lawyer. He and his wife Sylvia have been friends, mentors, and highly respected members of a small group of true leaders in our America's Capitol for many years. They are always in high demand as dinner partners or leaders of a civic endeavor. Together, their wit, intelligence, and musical prowess has constantly reminded the most powerful in our Nation that there is always more to learn and it is very dangerous to take yourself too seriously.

    It is my honor to call Jim a mentor and friend. Like no other man I know, I also realize that the number of people who count on his friendship would be a record for a town where Harry Truman famously noted that if you wanted a friend you should turn to a canine. I am thankful for his friendship, advice and service to Missouri and this great [[Page S1009]] country. While these comments mark his retirement from the practice of law, I'm confident that he will continue to be a bright light of intellect, humor, and friendship for many years to come in our Nation's Capital.

    I ask that the Senate join me in honoring Jim Symington on this occasion of his retirement from the practice of law. ____________________

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