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Bill N.
Democrat FL

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  • Tribute to Secretary of State Clinton

    by Senator Bill Nelson

    Posted on 2013-01-29

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    NELSON. Madam President, I want to speak about the extraordinary public service that has been rendered by the Secretary of State and whose long record of public service I want to commend. I rise on behalf of my friend, our former colleague, our honorable Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

    She has represented the United States. She is a world figure. She has represented America to the world, especially with her diligence, her grace, her hard work, and her incredible diplomatic skills. She has traveled to 112 countries. She has racked up 1 million miles, met with thousands of foreign dignitaries. She has reached nearly every corner of the globe and made history on the way.

    In each assignment she has left an indelible mark empowering women, supporting sustainable development, supporting the establishment of civil societies, and promoting the tenets of democracy: one man, one vote; one woman, one vote; human rights; and the rule of law.

    I might also note that she particularly has underscored the plight of women. Of course, we know we see societies that live almost in another time and age centuries before in the way they treat women. The Secretary of State has tried to help modernize those societies. She has done so by empowering and appointing one of her personal friends, Melanne Verveer, to be the Global Ambassador for Women's Affairs. That position has taken Ambassador Verveer all over the globe.

    I might say it has been my privilege to have a glimpse of that by seeing my wife Grace Nelson work with Melanne on the plight of poor women in so many different countries across this planet.

    When our Secretary of State confronts major national security challenges, her support has been pivotal--from the support she gave the President in the raid that took out bin Laden, to the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has been at the forefront of some of the toughest decisions of our time.

    The Secretary has also been steadfast in persuading the international community to enact crippling sanctions on Iran to isolate and to punish the regime for its pursuit of nuclear weapons. I might say on a personal note, a Floridian has been missing for almost 6 years who was suddenly swept up and disappeared on the Iranian tourist island of Kish in the Persian Gulf. The Secretary has kept very vigilant in continuing to search for any piece of evidence of Bob Levinson and to ultimately bring him home. I thank the Secretary not only for Floridians such as myself, but for his wife, Christine Levinson, and seven children who want their father home. That quest continues unrelentingly by many people. I wanted to say thank you to Secretary Clinton for the efforts she has lent to this effort.

    She has been one of the driving forces behind NATO's no-fly zone over Libya in order to prevent Qadhafi from massacring his own people. Through deft diplomacy, she has slowly opened Burma to the outside world. She is encouraging them to free political prisoners, hold parliamentary elections, and finally permit foreign investment. It is happening before our eyes.

    Of course, she has taken special interest in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, an island nation right off of the east coast of the United States, also less than an hour-and-a-half flight from Miami; that is, the island of Haiti.

    The island nation of Haiti--which is the island that Christopher Columbus was expected to have landed on, Hispaniola--now encompasses Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She has made Haiti one of the top foreign policy priorities, helping the impoverished island build back better after the devastating earthquake that killed over one-quarter of a million people. In no small measure has her husband President Clinton been a part of that attempt at restoration of Haiti from that devastating earthquake.

    Last week, during Secretary Clinton's final appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she said: Every time that blue and white airplane carrying the words ``United States of America'' touches down in some far-off capital, I feel again the honor it is to represent the world's indispensable nation.

    Madam Secretary, you have truly honored us with your indispensable leadership. On behalf of all our Senate colleagues, we thank you for your extraordinary service to this country. I want to say that your position will be in capable hands with our colleague and your former colleague, Senator John Kerry, who will serve, as we confirm him in the next 24 hours, as the 68th Secretary of State.

    Senator Kerry has served in this Senate in a distinguished amount of public service since 1985. He grew up traveling the world with his father in the Foreign Service. He fought in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze and Silver Stars, along with three Purple Hearts. I know he is going to build upon and continue the legacy and the extraordinary record of Secretary Clinton and will enhance America's leadership in the world. I look forward to his speedy confirmation.

    Madam President, I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.


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