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Mitch M.
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  • Tribute to Nancy Erickson

    by Senator Mitch McConnell

    Posted on 2014-12-12

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    McCONNELL. Mr. President, this morning I would like to wish a fond farewell to a woman we are all going to miss: Nancy Erickson, the Secretary of the Senate.

    It is her birthday today. Nancy is the kind of person you would expect to get cards from Democrats and Republicans on a day like this. And it is no secret why. She is fair, she is honest, she has always had a warm smile on her face. And that is no small matter, because Nancy has a really tough job. The title doesn't do it justice. Nancy admits she had to Google ``Secretary of the Senate'' when the position was offered to her.

    Let me tell you a little more about what Nancy does. On the one hand, there is an administrative element to her position. That is true. We would run out of printer paper without her. But she is also the keeper of this institution.

    Nancy respects the Senate. In fact, she loves the Senate. Her greatest joy is overseeing preservation of the Senate's storied art and history.

    I am particularly grateful to her efforts to secure and repair an important painting of my personal hero, Henry Clay. I understand it was a painstaking process, but it was a credit to the Senate and to our common history as America.

    Here is the point: Nancy may be a ``Secretary,'' but only in the way you would think of John Kerry or Condoleezza Rice being a ``Secretary.'' In other words, Nancy is pretty important.

    She presides over the Chamber. She signs the bills we pass. And, importantly to the Senate staff, she signs the checks they receive. So, you see, Nancy is actually a minor celebrity around here on payday.

    But she is something else entirely on game day. Nancy is one of the biggest Packers fans you will ever meet. There is no interrupting her when the green and gold take the field. Fortunately for Nancy, her home-State Senator John Thune feels the same way. So you often see the two South Dakotans--one a Democrat, the other a Republican--debating the finer points of last night's game.

    There is a reason I say this. Nancy goes out of her way to build trust across the aisle, even in unconventional ways. The folks in my office who work closest with Nancy have nothing but kind words to say about her. Some call her a personal friend. In fact, the remarkable woman I nominated to replace Nancy, Julie Adams, is just such a person. I know Nancy couldn't be happier for Julie, and neither could I.

    And while Nancy is going to miss the Senate, I know she is also looking forward to seeing more of her family. I know how important Nancy's parents are to her in particular. We are glad Nancy will be able to see more of them, even though we are going to miss her.

    Tribute to Sheila Dwyer The Senate is also going to miss Nancy's deputy. Sheila Dwyer is another Democrat my staff can't speak highly enough of. Sheila has had a long run here in the Senate. She has seen it from a lot of different angles. She has been a page, a scheduler, and now Assistant Secretary of the Senate. Along the way, she has worked for members such as Moynihan, Hollings, and Robb. It is an impressive career. It makes you understand why, as Leader Reid mentioned earlier, Sheila is known around here as the ``Mayor of Capitol Hill.'' Tribute to Robert Paxton and Mark Tratos We also can't forget to wish a fond farewell to Robert Paxton and Mark Tratos.

    Robert, Nancy's chief of staff, is a fellow Kentuckian who has worked in the Senate for more than a quarter century. And we understand that Mark, Robert's No. 2, is expecting his first child soon.

    So we wish both Robert and Mark all the best, just as we offer Sheila well-deserved recognition for a job well done, just as we bid the fondest of farewells to Nancy--and a very happy birthday as well.

    Mr. President, I yield the floor.


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