Tributes to Departing Senatorsby Senator Michael B. Enzi
Posted on 2014-12-10
ENZI. Mr. President, as the current session of Congress comes to
a close it is our custom to take a moment to express our appreciation
for the service of our colleagues who are retiring and will not be with
us when the next session begins in January. We will miss them all. Over
the years their experience and insights on a number of issues have been
a very valuable part of our debates and deliberations.
I know I will especially miss Saxby Chambliss. His work here on the floor and in his committee assignments has played an important role in our consideration of a number of issues over the years. Simply put, he has been a great champion for conservative causes during his service in the House and Senate and he has made a difference for his constituents in many, many ways. He is a man of principle and he has a great gift for expressing his viewpoint in a thoughtful, clear and interesting manner. He is so persuasive, in fact, that even if you disagree with him he makes you take a moment to reconsider your position just to be sure you have not missed something.
Before he began his years of public service to the people of Georgia, Saxby proved to be the kind of individual who would have been a success at just about anything he decided to pursue. Fortunately, the path he chose to follow in his life brought him to the Nation's capital to represent Georgia--first in the House of Representatives and later in the Senate.
Saxby served four terms in the House. It was a challenge that he enjoyed because it gave him a chance to sit on the committees that were taking a closer look at our intelligence organizations to be certain they would be ready to face any future threats to our national security. Georgia was proud to see that they had elected someone to Congress who was hard not to notice. He did such a good job, in fact, he was encouraged to run for the Senate.
When he arrived in this chamber, he had already established himself as one [[Page S6533]] of our leading conservative voices. That did not surprise any of us. He has a calm, even way of expressing himself and articulating how his principles play out in whatever issue we have before us.
One great attribute that Saxby brought with him to his work in the Congress was his willingness to work with people who did not always agree with him. He knew there would come a time when they would agree with him on something no matter how many times they had disagreed in the past. When the situation presented itself that was what he would focus on.
Simply put, Saxby believes very strongly in making progress and getting results. He is not all that concerned about who gets credit for it. As the old adage reminds us, for Saxby, it is all about leaving things a little better at the end of the day today than they were yesterday.
Over the years Saxby has always found a way to make progress no matter how rough the road seemed to be. It has been one of the guiding principles behind Saxby's 20 years of service. His commitment to moving forward has enabled him to leave his mark in Georgia and throughout much of the United States.
Now that this chapter of Saxby's life has come to a close, I am not sure what he has planned for his next great adventure. He just does not strike me as someone who will be content to sit on the sidelines. I am sure we will be hearing from him from time to time with some words of encouragement and support--and a suggestion or two. In fact, I am looking forward to it.
Saxby, thank you for your service in the House and the Senate. In your 20 years of service in the House and the Senate you have not only been a witness to the history of your home State of Georgia and our Nation, you have helped to write it. Because of you the Nation is stronger, safer and more secure. Yours is a record of leadership of which you should be very proud.
Diana joins in sending our best wishes to you. From one Sigma Chi brother to another, you have made a difference because you have always led the best way--by example. What others are content to talk about you have stepped up to do the work needed to get the job done and because of that you have been able to make a difference--an important and long lasting one.
Mike Johanns Mr. President, as the current session of Congress comes to a close it is our tradition to take a moment to express our appreciation for the faithful service of those of our colleagues who will be returning home at the end of the year. We appreciate their hard work and great service on behalf of their home States and our Nation. We will miss them and the thoughtful suggestions and good ideas they have brought to our deliberations on the issues before us.
The word ``service'' brings to mind one of our retiring colleagues, Mike Johanns. Mike has followed a path that has brought him from his service as the Mayor of Lincoln, to his post as the Governor of Nebraska, on to serve in the President's Cabinet as Secretary of Agriculture and then on to the floor of the United States Senate. He has made important contributions at each post and now, as he has decided with the support and guidance of his family, ``it is time to close this chapter in his life.'' As a former mayor myself I have a great deal of regard for Mike and his commitment to the people that he has served for many, many years. He has a great understanding of his home State of Nebraska and the workings of its State and local government. He understands the challenges that face his home State in the present, and the hopes and dreams of the people of Nebraska for the future.
It did not take long to discover that Mike is a workhorse, not a showhorse. He is not someone to land on a weekend talk show every week talking about what needs to be done--he would rather be in committee or on the floor every day doing it. In everything he did Mike always brought along an abundance of Nebraska common sense. He used that special gift of his and his varied background as a starting point for finding common ground and a workable solution on a number of issues that would be acceptable to all.
During his service in the Senate it has been good to have a neighbor to work with who understands agriculture and our rural way of life. He has been a great help in making the case clear to the Congress about the difference between living on a farm and living in a big city or town.
That is why I will not be the only one who will miss him. Our rural communities in the West will miss his ability to understand the problems of rural America and what should be done to address them.
Mike has also been one to focus on the money side of each issue that came to the Senate. He knows how important it is for us to get a handle on our Nation's finances to ensure that our children and grandchildren will not have to clean up the financial mess we are going to leave them if we are not careful. Mike has said that our failure to act will cause our financial problems to appear sooner than we might think.
I am sorry to see Mike go when there is so much to be done that could use his understanding not only of the issues, but from his experience, the impact they will have on the local, State and national level.
Still we know where to find him whenever we could use some of his Nebraska-rooted common sense. Thanks, Mike, for your service to the State of Nebraska and to our Nation. You can be proud of what you helped to accomplish and the seeds you planted that will lead to more accomplishments in the years to come.
Thanks for your leadership and thanks for your friendship, too. Diana joins in sending our best wishes to you and our appreciation for all you have done. Please keep in touch with us. We will always be pleased to hear from you.
Carl Levin Mr. President, once again, as is our tradition here in the Senate, we take a moment to express our appreciation for the service of those Members who will be retiring at the end of the year. We will miss them, their good ideas and thoughtful suggestions, and their concern and active involvement in the challenges facing our Nation in a number of areas.
It is hard to mention the word ``service'' and not have Carl Levin come to mind. As a former local official myself, I have a great deal of respect and regard for all those who have worked their way up from the local level to the Senate.
For Carl the great adventure of his political life began with his service on the Detroit City Council. During his 8 years on the council Carl probably had enough run-ins with the Federal bureaucracy that he decided he had to do something about it. For him that meant a run for the Senate.
Carl's election and his subsequent service in the Senate have shown him to be quite an effective legislator and a force for the positions he has taken on a long list of issues. He has been a Member of the Senate since 1979 and he has hit a number of milestones since then that reflect the length and production of his service.
It is important to emphasize that Carl's service in the Senate has never been about longevity, it is been about results. That is why he has been a part of so many issues that needed someone with his talents, skills and abilities to help move them through. Such an issue has been his great support for our Nation's military and our veterans.
Carl has been working for the benefit of those who have served in our Armed Forces since he first walked in the door of the Senate. Determined that they reap the benefits they have earned with their service, Carl joined the Armed Services Committee to ensure our military and our veterans were getting what they deserved and required both during and after their service.
That is one of the main reasons why he is currently serving as the Chairman of our Armed Services Committee. He wanted to make a difference for those who were sacrificing so much to serve in our Nation's military. I don't think our servicemen and women--and our Nation's veterans--have ever had a better friend than Carl Levin.
Now he is closing the chapter of this great adventure of his life. With his service he has made a difference in more ways than I could ever hope to mention in my brief remarks. In the process Carl has touched more lives for the better than we will ever know with his commitment to the day-to-day [[Page S6534]] issues that affect us all--like education, the environment and health care. He has had an impact on his home State and our Nation that will be felt for a long time to come.
Thank you, Carl, for your service in the Senate. I know I join with the people of Michigan in expressing our appreciation to you for dedicating so much of your life to making our Nation a better place for us all to live. That is why your constituents have always been there to express their appreciation of your work here in the Senate with their votes. That is also why no other Senator has ever represented Michigan as long as you have.
Diana joins in sending our best wishes to you for all you have accomplished and for your close and personal attention to the needs of our Armed Forces and the concerns of our veterans. Thanks, too, for your friendship. We will miss you, but I am certain we will be in touch.
Tom Harkin Mr. President, it is hard to believe how quickly this session of Congress has come to an end. Before that final gavel brings it to a close, however, it is good to have this time to express our appreciation for the service of those Members who will be retiring at the end of the year. They all have a lot to be proud of--from their first speech here on the floor to their representation of their State over the years.
Those words can not help but bring to mind Tom Harkin. I have had a chance to come to know him and work with him as the Chairman of the health committee. I have been very impressed with his dedication to his work and his determination to make a difference for the people who voted to hire him on for the job--and all Americans in all of the States.
I think one of the reasons why we were able to work together has to do with his Wyoming background. Tom spent some of the best years of his life in Rock Springs and I can not help but think that his time there made a big difference in his life.
Tom has quite a remarkable record of service to the people of Iowa and it is clear they feel the same about him. They have sent him back to the Senate to serve as their representative for five terms in the House and five terms in the Senate. During his service in the Senate I appreciated having the opportunity to work with him as the ranking member of the committee. In addition, the leadership he has provided the committee as chairman has enabled him to take an active role on issues that will have an impact on his home State and the rest of the country for many years to come.
If I were to name just a few of the issues on which Tom has made a difference I would begin with his work on behalf of those living with disabilities that resulted in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Tom's groundbreaking legislation was written to help ensure all Americans would have an opportunity to lead more fulfilling and productive lives. In the days to come, his work on this issue will continue to provide the support that will help those living with disabilities to work toward their goals in life--and achieve them.
I also wanted to point out his work with our education system. Tom understands the importance of a good education and the difference it makes in young lives--today and tomorrow. Thanks to his hard work and determination students of all ages have a new appreciation for the fact that an education consists of more than just a few years in a classroom--it is a lifelong adventure, a journey that never ends because there is always something new to learn, some new skill that will make someone a more valuable member of the workforce.
I am sure he has heard it before but it is pretty clear that Tom Harkin is Iowa, through and through. He has devoted so many years of his life to the people of his State and they are greatly appreciative of his efforts--and the results he has been able to achieve.
Now, as Tom has made clear, it is time for someone else to step up to the plate and continue the work he has begun on so many issues. There is no question that you will be a difficult act to follow. For all those years Tom's heart and soul has been in Iowa while his mind and his focus has been in the nation's capital, working to make Iowa a better place to live.
Now Tom's remarkable career in the House and the Senate has come to a close and this chapter of his great adventure of serving the people of Iowa here in Congress has concluded. While we did not always agree on the best way to get things done we always agreed that we needed to focus on what we could do to have the greatest impact on the lives of Americans all across the country. Fortunately, I think we succeeded in many ways and Tom will be remembered for those positive results--and so many more.
One last Tom Harkin memory has to do with his popcorn tradition. I know I am not the only one who hopes it will continue. I do not think a single visitor to your office or that section of the building will ever forget the wonderful aroma your Iowa popcorn sent all around the area. For visitors from back home it must have been a touch that made them feel right at home. It was just more proof that you never lost sight of the people back home and they loved you for that.
Thank you, Tom Harkin, for all you have brought to the House and the Senate over the years. You have made it clear what the people of Iowa expect from their government and what you were working so hard to achieve for them. Thank you for your service, thank you for your dedication to making our Nation a better place to live and most of all, thank you for your friendship. You have not only been a witness to the history of your State and our country, you have helped to write each chapter over the years. In the days to come your achievements will continue to inspire the next generation of our leaders who will want to do what you have done. I am sure they can count on you for your insights, suggestions and advice. Diana joins in sending our best wishes to you.
Mark Pryor Mr. President, it is one of the Senate's great traditions at the close of each session of Congress to take a moment to note the service of those of our colleagues who be leaving the Senate at the end of the year. It is a time for us to express our appreciation to our fellow Senators for their service and share what we have learned from them as we worked together to make a difference in our states and in our nation.
I have often thought that Mark has one great overriding rule that has guided him in his work in the Senate, ``Is this what the people of Arkansas sent me here to do?'' More often than not the answer to that question has helped him to develop a strategy to get things done that were designed to make his home State and our nation better places to live.
Ask just about any one of us here in the Senate what has made Mark Pryor such an effective legislator and you will get the same answer-- bipartisanship. In fact, he was so good at it, we might need to come up with a different word to explain his strategy, something like Pryor- itize. For Mark, the best way to get things done was to get everyone involved--all parties, all sides of an issue, and representatives of every point in between--together and then take the best of what everyone had to offer to form a coalition that would bring his legislative effort to a successful conclusion.
That is why both parties would often try to recruit him for their legislative projects. Each party knew he had a great ability to persuade that would help to bring other members together to support their efforts.
I have often said that serving in the Senate is a great adventure. If it were anything else, it would be too much like work and too hard a job to take on. Because it is an adventure it is something more--it is a chance to take on the greatest challenge there is, leaving the world a better place than we found it when we first walked through the doors of the Senate, and find new, creative, and inventive ways to make it happen.
As he closes this chapter of his life, his Senate adventure, Mark can be very proud of his efforts, and his successes over the years. He has a great deal to be proud of and I hope it brings him the satisfaction that comes from knowing he has taken on a difficult job and done it well.
I know I will miss seeing Mark around campus here in Washington, DC. I will miss his willingness to help on those tough challenging issues we always seen to have before us. I will also miss his words of faith and determination that he would share with us during our prayer breakfasts.
[[Page S6535]] I hope you will keep in touch with us in the days to come with news of your next great adventure in life. Thank you for your service to our country, thank you for your focus on making Arkansas and our nation better places to live, and, most of all, thank you for your friendship. Good luck in all your future endeavors. God bless.