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Gary P.
Democrat MI

About Sen. Gary
  • Tribute to Rick Carter

    by Senator Gary Peters

    Posted on 2016-01-11

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    PETERS. Madam President, 8 months ago, as I delivered my maiden speech in the Senate, I discussed how honored I am to have succeeded Senator Carl Levin, a mentor to me and a man who defined what it meant to be a Senator from Michigan--a feeling that has only deepened during the past year that I have served in this body.

    During his 36 years of service, Senator Levin personally met tens of thousands of Michiganders. He remains beloved by many, including those who might never have had the opportunity to shake his hand or sit down next to him. This is due in no small part to his tireless commitment and accessibility in responding to questions and comments from his constituents, whether those issues arose in person, over the phone, in a letter, or--during the latter half of Senator Levin's tenure--email. Michiganders reaching out to his office knew that they would be heard and that they could expect a thoughtful, honest response about their Senator's positions.

    These responses--hundreds of thousands a year and millions over the course of Senator Levin's career--were made possible by his correspondence manager, Rick Carter. Rick worked for Senator Levin for almost two decades, and I have had the privilege to have him on my team since early last year.

    While I have known him for only a year, this has been more than enough time to learn that Rick is a model public servant and a role model for generations of congressional staffers. Rick is humble, thoughtful, and fiercely committed to working behind the scenes to help other staff succeed and to grow. He has been instrumental in establishing my Senate office, and I will be eternally grateful for this honorary Michigander's efforts.

    Rick grew up in DC. Perhaps his future career was foreshadowed by growing up in the Michigan Park neighborhood. He was a standout student at DeMatha Catholic High School and earned a scholarship at George Washington University, where he studied sociology.

    During his time at GW, he interned for Congressman John Conyers, a legend of the civil rights movement, current Dean of the House of Representatives, and a man I am honored to call my friend and a Michigan colleague.

    Graduating from GW in 1995, Rick began what would be a 19-year career with Senator Levin. He worked his way up from the front office and mastered a number of different positions before deciding that managing the correspondence team best allowed him to balance engaging on matters of policy, serving the people of Michigan, and mentoring junior staffers.

    While Rick has many skills and qualities you might expect from a seasoned staffer, including being an excellent writer, editor, and consummate professional, it is his extraordinary commitment to developing young minds that I wish to focus on for a moment.

    Rick has helped dozens and perhaps hundreds of young graduates, former interns, and junior staffers find jobs in public service. Along with refining writing skills and polishing resumes, Rick has taught a generation of staffers things they did not learn in college: how to be a professional, how to show up on time, and how to simultaneously function independently as well as part of a team. His former interns are legislative directors, chiefs of staff, and chief counsels. The list of favors he is owed is extensive, but he never asks for anything in return.

    [[Page S16]] He might ask you to run with him, though. As a charity marathon coach, he has helped raise money to fight AIDS. As a year-round positive influence--and not just during a New Year's resolution season--he is always looking for current and past colleagues to run with him. I will not even begin to speculate on the cumulative pounds lost due to his inspiration.

    Rick has been a surrogate big brother and father figure for so many staffers. It is especially meaningful that Rick has started his own family with his wife Nakia. Their son Mason and new baby Ryan are lucky to have such a loving, dedicated dad. I wish their entire family the best as Rick starts his own small business to pursue real estate development in the DC area.

    It is said that the only constant in life is change. While Rick Carter has been a constant in the Michigan delegation for more than two decades and I will miss having him in my office, I deeply appreciate his two decades of service and respect his desire to take on new challenges. Rick Carter will always be a part of both Team Levin and Team Peters.

    I suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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