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Orrin H.
Republican UT

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  • Tributes to Departing Senators

    by Senator Orrin G. Hatch

    Posted on 2014-12-12

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    HATCH. Madam President, I rise today to honor my good friend Senator Saxby Chambliss on the occasion of his retirement. For 20 years, he has served his fellow Georgians in Congress with honor and distinction. He will be sorely missed.



    A preacher's son, Saxby was born in Warrenton, NC. He graduated from the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee College of Law. As a lawyer in south Georgia, he built a successful law practice representing the farmers that are the lifeblood of his state.

    He put his expertise on farm issues to good use here in Congress and became a key player in negotiations for each of the farm bills considered during his tenure. And just 2 years after he was elected to the Senate, he assumed the chairmanship of the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, the fastest any new Senator has risen to chair a standing committee since 1947.

    Saxby and I served together for many years on the Select Committee on Intelligence, where I came to appreciate his wisdom, his sound judgment, and his unyielding commitment to keeping this nation safe. He has been an enormously effective vice chairman over the past 4 years. And even as his tenure here draws to a close, he has once again demonstrated his superb leadership in setting the record straight on the Intelligence Committee's investigation of the CIA's detention and interrogation program.

    Above all else, Saxby is a proud husband, father of two, and grandfather of six. I know that his lovely wife Julianne and the rest of his family are eager to spend more time together in the coming years.

    Mr. President, Saxby and the entire Chambliss family should know that his colleagues, his fellow Georgians, and his fellow Americans are truly grateful for Saxby's service and his family's sacrifices. I wish them all the best.

    Tom Coburn Madam President, I also pay tribute to my friend Tom Coburn as he prepares to leave the Senate. For 10 years, Tom has served the people of Oklahoma as their junior Senator. He is a man of principle and fierce determination. He has shown himself willing time and again to stand up to special interests and to fight for what he believes in. He will be missed.

    Senator Coburn was born in Casper, Wyoming, in 1948 and was raised in Muskogee, OK. His father Orin was a prominent optician and the founder of Coburn Optical Industries. Tom attended college at Oklahoma State University, where he graduated with a degree in accounting. From 1970 to 1978 he was a manufacturing manager at his family's company. After a bout with cancer, Tom returned to school to become a physician, graduating in 1983 from the University of Oklahoma Medical School. Following his residency, Tom moved back to Muskogee to practice family medicine and obstetrics. He has personally delivered more than 4,000 babies.

    Senator Coburn began his career in public service in 1994, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Oklahoma. He served in the House for 6 years, then went back to Muskogee to resume his medical practice. Three years later, in 2004, Tom was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Don Nickles. Here in the Senate he has served with distinction on a number of important committees, including the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, of which he is the Ranking Member.

    Since first arriving in Congress, Senator Coburn has been a strong proponent of fiscal restraint. His efforts to fight deficit spending, pork barrel projects, and earmarks earned him the nickname ``Dr. No.'' I have always thought this nickname was a compliment to Tom. It shows he is willing to stand up against powerful interests in defense of his principles, and that he takes seriously the problems of unnecessary spending and long-term debt.

    [[Page S6777]] Passing a balanced budget amendment has been a priority of mine for many years, and I have been glad to count Tom as a strong ally in that effort.

    I have also been fortunate to work with Senator Coburn on a number of other issues during his time in the Senate. Earlier this year, Tom and I, along with Senator Richard Burr, introduced the Patient CARE Act, a market-based alternative to Obamacare. Tom and I have also worked together to fight waste and corruption at the Department of Health and Human Services and to reinvigorate the States' roles in meeting transportation, safety, and other needs.

    Madam President, Senator Coburn is an honorable and steadfast man. He has served his country well. I wish him, his wife Carolyn, and their family the very best.

    Mike Johanns Madam President, as well I honor my colleague and friend Mike Johanns. For many years, Senator Johanns has worked tirelessly for the people of Nebraska, first at the local level, then at the state level as Governor, and most recently as senior Senator from Nebraska. Mike is a kind and thoughtful man, and I have been grateful to serve with him these past 6 years.

    Senator Johanns was born and raised in Osage, IA, where he grew up working on his family's farm. After high school, he attended Saint Mary's University of Minnesota and Creighton University School of Law. Following law school Mike clerked on the Nebraska Supreme Court and then practiced law in Lincoln, NE, where he was a founding partner at the firm Nelson, Johanns, Morris, Holdeman, and Titus.

    In 1983, Senator Johanns was elected to the Lancaster County Board. Five years later he won election to the Lincoln City Council, and then, 3 years after that, became Mayor of Lincoln. Mike followed his success in local politics with success in state politics. In 1998, he won his first term as Governor of Nebraska, and was reelected by a landslide 4 years later.

    Senator Johanns entered national politics in 2004 when President George W. Bush asked him to serve as Secretary of Agriculture. Four years later he won election to the U.S. Senate from Nebraska, where he has served with distinction ever since.

    When he retires later this month, Senator Johanns will have spent more than 25 years as a public servant. I commend him for his service to the state of Nebraska and to the people of this Nation.

    Although his tenure in the Senate was brief, Senator Johanns wasted no time. His previous experience as Secretary of Agriculture proved indispensable as a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. To this committee, he brought an expertise on farming issues unrivaled by other freshman senators. He also served actively on the Banking Committee and was a member of the Senate's Gang of Eight during budget negotiations in 2011. Throughout his service, Senator Johanns always had the best interests of the Nation at heart.

    Madam President, Senator Johanns is a good man who has served his country well. His retirement is well deserved. I wish him, his wife Stephanie, and their children the best going forward.

    Jay Rockefeller Madam President, in addition I pay tribute to my friend and colleague Jay Rockefeller, who will soon retire from the Senate. I have known Jay for many years. He is a man of principle who has dedicated his life to serving the citizens of West Virginia. He is a serious legislator and an honorable man. I will miss him.

    Senator Rockefeller is a member of a prominent and distinguished American family. He is the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil. Jay was born in New York City and attended school at Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard College, from which he earned an A.B. After college Jay worked for the Peace Corps and the Department of Far Eastern Affairs. He then went to work for the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program, during which time he moved to West Virginia.

    Senator Rockefeller began his political career in 1966, when he was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. Two years he later became the West Virginia Secretary of State. After a brief stint as President of West Virginia Wesleyan College, Jay returned to public service in 1976, when he was elected Governor of West Virginia. Following two successful terms as Governor, he won election to the U.S. Senate in 1984, where he has served ever since.

    Senator Rockefeller has held a number of important positions in the Senate, including Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where I was privileged to serve with him. This is a crucially important committee that deals with some of the weightiest issues that come before Congress. Jay led the committee with equanimity and respect. His work helped keep our country safe.

    Senator Rockefeller has also been an active legislator. I was honored to work with him on the creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, which has made health insurance available to millions of children. Other issues Jay and I have worked on together over the years include tax reform, stem cell research, and protecting the American flag. He and I did not always see eye to eye, but I always knew he did what he thought was right.

    Mr. President, I am grateful to have been able to serve alongside Senator Rockefeller these past 30 years. He's a man of deep conviction, and a man utterly devoted to the people of his home state of West Virginia. I wish the very best for him, his wife Sharon, and their family as they enter the next chapter of their lives.

    Mark Pryor Madam President, I also honor my friend Mark Pryor. For 12 years Senator Pryor has served the people of Arkansas in this body. He is independent, open-minded, and hard-working. He will be missed.

    Senator Pryor comes from a distinguished Arkansas political family. His father, David Pryor, was Governor of and later Senator from Arkansas. Mark was born in Fayetteville, AR, and attended college at the University of Arkansas. He received a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law and then spent several years in private practice.

    In 1991, Senator Pryor was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives. Eight years later he was elected Attorney General of Arkansas. In 2002, Mark won election to the U.S. Senate from Arkansas, winning the same seat his father once held.

    In the Senate, Mark has distinguished himself through his independence and his willingness to reach across party lines. Although Mark and I have not always agreed, I have always known he has acted in what he firmly believes are the best interests of his State.

    Senator Pryor has served on a number of important committees during his time in the Senate, including the Appropriations Committee, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. I have been fortunate to work with him on a number of important pieces of legislation, on topics ranging from medical care to homeland security to victim restitution. He has been a strong partner in these efforts, and I have been grateful to have him as an ally.

    Senator Pryor is a decent and thoughtful man. He has served his State honorably. I wish him and his family the very best.

    John Walsh Madam President, finally I pay tribute to Senator John Walsh. I have known John for only a brief time, but I know that he is a good man who has served his country well.

    Senator Walsh began his service to our country long before he came to the Senate. He joined the Montana National Guard right after high school-the start of an impressive military career. John served 8 years as an enlisted U.S. Army soldier before he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1987. As an officer, he distinguished himself and quickly rose through the ranks.

    Senator Walsh led the 163rd Infantry Battalion in Iraq, commanding more than 700 Army National Guard soldiers in combat. He later received the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman's badge for his service. In 2008, Governor Brian Schweitzer appointed John the Adjutant General of Montana's National Guard. As Adjutant General, [[Page S6778]] John oversaw the command of thousands of troops. These soldiers and their families looked to him for leadership and strength, and he always delivered.

    Senator Walsh moved from military service to public office when he became Montana's Lieutenant Governor in 2013. Governor Steve Bullock appointed John to fill former Senator Max Baucus's seat in February 2014, making John the first Iraq War veteran to serve as a Senator.

    Though his time here in the Senate was brief, Senator Walsh was an active member of the Committee on Rules and Administration; the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He always treated me and our other colleagues with the utmost kindness and respect.

    Senator Walsh is a good man who has dedicated his life to serving our country and keeping us safe. I wish him, his wife Janet, and their children the very best.

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