APPRECIATION TO SENATE COLLEAGUES AND STAFF -- (Senate - December 08, 2006)
Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, early on Thanksgiving day, Mary Frances Darling was born. She is our 10th grandchild and the 6th child of our daughter Jill and her husband Bill. As I said on election night this year, I am a very lucky man. I am blessed with a wonderful family.
I am also blessed because for the last 30 years--30 years--the people of Ohio have given me the opportunity to represent them, first as Green County prosecuting attorney, then as State senator, then as a Congressman for four terms from the seventh congressional district, then Lieutenant Governor, and now, for the past 12 years, in this wonderful body as a U.S. Senator. For that opportunity, I will be eternally grateful.
When I came to the Senate in 1995, it had been a little over a year since our daughter Becky had been killed. I was, quite candidly, still numb. We as a family had been through a lot. But I knew that our time here on Earth is short, and I wanted as best I could to spend my time in the Senate, whatever time I had, working on tangible things, getting concrete results that impact the lives of families in Ohio and in our Nation. I have tried to do that, but I have not done it alone. Whatever I have achieved has been with the help of so many people.
Over the past 12 years, I have worked with every Member of this Senate, and I consider each Member of this Senate a friend. I have had the privilege to work with two Republican leaders and one who in January will become the Republican leader.
Trent and Tricia Lott were two of the first people Fran and I met when we came to the House in 1983. Tricia is Fran's best friend here in Washington, and Trent is my dear friend. I have benefited from his counsel, from his advice, and from his help, now for well over 20 years.
Bill Frist and I came to the Senate together in 1995. Karyn and Bill are very good friends. Bill has been an unbelievably accessible leader. We share a passion for fighting the spread of AIDS. Bill's public role in that cause is obvious and apparent to everyone. But what is not so obvious and what is little known is what Bill Frist has done behind the scenes, what his role has been in working with so many people, working with the White House and others to get this job done. No one has played a bigger role. And when the history is written, Bill Frist's name will be there in bold print as someone who has saved so many, many lives.
Mitch McConnell. Mitch and Elaine are dear friends. When I faced the tough challenge of getting a bill or amendment passed, I went to Mitch. I have done it for 12 years. I did it as recently as yesterday. Mitch McConnell is tough. He is strong. He is wise. He will be a great leader. His advice as to how to thread the legislative needle is responsible for so much of what I have passed. He also has a big heart, as was demonstrated time and time again when I would go to him. He is chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee. After I talked to him, he would, at my request, put money into things which saved children's lives, child survival or to save little children, little babies in Haiti. He did it. He got it done. He made a difference.
I have been lucky enough to serve on the Judiciary, Appropriations, HELP, and Intelligence Committees, and I want to thank the chairmen who have led those committees over the past 12 years. I was the first Ohio Senator to serve on the Appropriations Committee since 1945. With the help of Chairman Stevens, Chairman Cochran, and their staffs, I was able to secure well over $1.billion for projects throughout Ohio that make a difference.
I particularly thank Arlen Specter. I thank his clerk and my good friend, Bettilou Taylor. They have both been so helpful to me in securing millions of dollars for programs through Labor-HHS appropriations. These two dedicated public servants helped me provide funding for important programs, things such as the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education Program and projects in Ohio to build facilities and provide services for people with disabilities. They also helped me fund projects to help meet the health needs of seniors and low-income communities throughout the State. Because of them, I have been able to secure over $12 million for Ohio's children's hospitals.
Senator Specter, Bettilou, let me tell you from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of Ohio's sick and poor kids and their families, I thank you.
I also sincerely thank Judiciary Committee Chairmen Specter and Hatch; HELP Committee Chairmen Enzi, Gregg, and Jeffords; and Intelligence Committee Chairmen Roberts and Shelby. I have been fortunate to have passed dozens of bills and amendments in my career in the Senate, and most of them were provisions that I worked along with these chairmen to pass. It would never have happened without them. I appreciate their help.
I appreciate all the help Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has given me--a dear friend--especially when it came to passing my bills to improve the foster care and adoption system. I have worked with many Members of the Senate on this very important issue, foster care and adoption, including Senators Jay Rockefeller, Mary Landrieu, Larry Craig, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, John Chafee, Jesse Helms, Bill Roth, Jim Jeffords, Dan Coats. They all shared a passion for foster care children. They all shared a passion for the adoption issue.
I also thank my good friend from Pennsylvania, my friend who keeps the candy drawer over there, Rick Santorum. Like so many who spoke about him yesterday, I applaud Rick for his passion and his absolute fearlessness in standing up for what he believes. I recall being on this floor many nights late at night during the debate over partial-birth abortion. Some nights it was just Rick and me, and we closed this place. He got it done. I thank him for that.
I also remember how Senator Santorum stood with Senators Lindsey Graham and Sam Brownback to help me pass my unborn victims of violence bill and see it signed into law. It took several years to pass this legislation, and Congressman Graham had been the sponsor and was the sponsor of the bill in the House. I applaud his determination to get this done. When it comes to foreign policy issues, I share an interest in Western Hemisphere issues with my friends Senator Norm Coleman, the chairman, and Mel Martinez. Mel, thank you. Senator Coleman has admirably served this body as chairman of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee. I sincerely enjoyed travel with him to Haiti.
I also enjoyed traveling to Africa with the good Senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander. Lamar has contributed a great deal to this body. He will contribute more, especially in the area of education policy, where he is
clearly the expert.
Senator JUDD GREGG and I also worked on a very important education issue. He started it. He worked it. I helped him. We got it done. That is the School Choice Program here in Washington, DC. We broke the logjam. We got it done. I applaud his commitment to the children of this, our Nation's Capital.
I thank my friends CHUCK HAGEL and LINDSEY GRAHAM for the good conversations they have shared with me on foreign policy issues. Speaking of that issue, I thank my neighbor on the floor and my neighbor to the west in Indiana, DICK LUGAR, for being the rock that he is on foreign policy and for giving me good counsel and advice.
I want to thank my dear friend JOHN MCCAIN, with whom I came to the House of Representatives in 1983 and who has been my friend since. I thank him for his courage. I thank him for his wise counsel on military and foreign relations issues.
I also thank a dear friend of mine who does not now serve in this body, former Senator and Secretary of Energy Spence Abraham. He did a lot of things. One of the things that took guts and courage is he fought with me and others to protect legal immigration while he served in the Senate. He took a lot of flack for it.
I was honored to work with Senator GORDON SMITH, Senators HARRY REID, JACK REED, and CHRIS DODD, to pass the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. I applaud Senator Smith and his wife Sharon for having the courage to take the tragedy of their son Garrett's suicide and do so many wonderful things with it. They are wonderful people.
Last year, I was extremely proud to be one of 14 bipartisan Members of this great body who decided to work together to break what had become a gridlock in the Senate over judicial nominations. In the grand tradition of the Senate, individuals from both political parties came together that time to solve a problem which threatened not only the judicial nomination process but was threatening to shut the Senate down completely. I want to thank my friends with whom I was proud to stand in that effort: JOHN MCCAIN, JOHN WARNER, LINDSEY GRAHAM, OLYMPIA SNOWE, SUSAN COLLINS, LINCOLN CHAFEE, JOE LIEBERMAN, Senator Byrd, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Daniel Inouye, Mark Pryor, and KEN SALAZAR. They got it done.
I thank my friend, my colleague, my partner, Senator GEORGE VOINOVICH. GEORGE and I have worked together in the Senate on so many things for Ohio, from NASA Glenn to the Great Lakes. We first got together in 1989. We joined up as partners in 1989 when I decided to leave the U.S. House--it was a tough decision for me--and join him as his Lieutenant Governor candidate. I have not regretted it. It was the right decision, and we have worked together ever since then. I thank him and I thank his wonderful wife Jan for their friendship and love.
I also want to thank all the members of the Ohio congressional delegation with whom I have sincerely enjoyed working over the years. I have worked with every one of them. They have all made a difference. They are all my friends, Democrats and Republicans. Specifically, I extend my appreciation to my Congressman, my dear friend DAVE HOBSON. He is a savvy man. I have gone to him many times for advice, and I have gone to him to get things done for Ohio.
I would be remiss if I didn't thank the wonderful staff people in addition to my own staff whom I have had the pleasure to work with in the Senate. I thank the outstanding Senate floor staff: Dave Schiappa, Laura Dove, and all the other floor staffers who are such wonderful professionals and who serve us all so well. Thanks to the staff of the Republican leadership: Eric Ueland; Bill Hoagland, whom I talked about earlier today and whom I go to for advice a lot; Kyle Simmons, Malloy McDaniel, Laura Pemberton, and on and on.
I also thank all the committee staff with whom I had the pleasure to work. They are too plentiful to name, but I cannot leave this body without thanking my dear friend Mary Dietrich, clerk of the DC Appropriations Committee. I saw Mary on the floor last night. I so enjoyed working with her. She is a pro. She is great. I also thank Paul Grove, clerk of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, who worked with me in helping increase funding for the various humanitarian aid programs. I know he got tired of seeing me coming, but he was always gracious and got the job done.
If there is one thing I have learned in the Senate, it is that you must work together with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans. I see my friend on the floor, Senator PAUL SARBANES, who will be leaving. I have worked with him over the years. I have worked with many Democratic Senators over the years. I want to take a few minutes to thank them for their willingness to set aside party politics to make a difference and to get tangible results.
First, I thank my very good friend Senator Chris Dodd. Senator Dodd and I have worked together on many bills that have become law. We worked together--not once, not twice, but three times--to pass three bills into law to expand the research and testing of drugs prescribed for children. Senator Hillary Clinton also joined us in this effort, and I thank both of them for their dedication and dogged determination in helping to ensure our children have access to the medicines they need.
Senator DODD and I also came together to create a national toll-free poison control hotline--I will remind my colleagues one more time of that number: 1-800-222-1222.
Senator Dodd and I also share a commitment to providing additional resources for our Nation's firefighters and first responders. We know that these men and women have the responsibility of looking out for us and our families, and we, in turn, have a responsibility to provide them with the resources they need to do their jobs. Together, Senator Dodd and I passed the Fire Act in 2000, and that law has provided over $3.1 billion for grants to fire departments around the Nation for needed equipment, training, and communications technology. I am proud of the over $100 million in Fire Act grants that my home State of Ohio has received.
Finally, Senator Dodd and I worked together with a wonderful American statesman--Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan--to pass the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, which has led to the declassification of countless U.S. Government files containing information about Nazi war criminals. The American people deserve to have access to this information. For all of our work together, Senator Dodd, thank you.
Mr. President, I want to thank Senator Jay Rockefeller for joining me in fighting to make our adoption system work better for children around the country. My good friend Senator Rockefeller was the lead cosponsor of two of my bills that we got signed into law, and I was the lead cosponsor of one of his bills that also became law. These laws have helped minimize the amount of time children spend in foster care and increased the number of adoptions across the country.
Those laws are making a difference every day. They are changing children's lives.
As members of the Senate Steel Caucus, Senator Rockefeller and I also worked successfully together to impose tariffs against foreign countries that were dumping steel in the United States. The dumping by these countries was hurting our steel industry and, therefore, it was hurting families throughout Ohio and West Virginia. Senator Rockefeller and I also teamed up to increase automobile and highway safety. He is a champion there, too.
Last year, Senator Rockefeller was the lead co-sponsor of several bills with me that will save lives on our roads. Together, we passed these bills into law as part of the last Highway bill. We will never know the names or faces of the people whose lives will be saved by these laws, but it is enough for both of us to know those men, women, and children are out there. Senator Rockefeller--it has been a pleasure to work with you. Thank you.
Mr. President, I want to thank Senator Mary Landrieu. Senator Landrieu and I share a profound concern for low-income students around the country and for the welfare of young people here in the District of Columbia. In 2001, we worked together to amend the No Child Left Behind Act to make sure that additional funding went toward low-income schools and the students who attend those schools. Since passage of our amendment, low-income schools in Ohio have received $259 million. I applaud Senator Landrieu for her commitment to these children.
I also want to thank Senator Landrieu for the excellent work we did together on the District of Columbia Appropriations Subcommittee. We worked together on this subcommittee from 2001 to 2004, and again, our focus was on improving the health and well-being of children. We improved the city's long-troubled foster care system and helped fund various improvements to Children's Hospitals in the District. It was truly a pleasure working with the good Senator from Louisiana.
Mr. President, I have had the great fortune to work closely on the Judiciary Committee with my friend Senator Pat Leahy. I am proud of the many things that we worked on together. Specifically, we both know that our State and local law enforcement officers need to have the best technology available to protect our families and loved ones. I thank Senator Leahy for working with me in 1998 to pass the Crime Identification Technology Act, known as CITA. We worked together to develop, pass into law, and provide funding for this critical bill, which has included over $500 million to help law enforcement officials purchase cutting edge forensic and communication technology and improve their crime labs--all in an effort to help local law enforcement fight crime and make our communities safer.
I also appreciated working with Senator Leahy to pass my bill in 2003 that eliminated the statute of limitations for child abduction and sex crimes and required child pornographers to register as sex offenders. Finally, Senator Leahy and I worked together, along with Congressman Ted Strickland in the House, to pass my Mentally Ill Offenders bill and get it signed into law in 2004. This law goes a long way toward providing mental health services for criminals desperately in need of those services. Thank you, Senator Leahy. And, of course, neither of these laws would have happened without the help of Judiciary Chairmen Specter and Hatch.
Mr. President, since 1997, I have been a member of the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee. During my time in the Senate, sometimes I chaired the Committee, and sometimes my friend Senator Herb Kohl chaired the committee. But, no matter who had the gavel, we ran it the same way--as a bi-partisan committee, which shined a light on competition issues and helped consumers and businesses get a fair shake in the marketplace. Both of our staffs planned the subcommittee agenda together, organized hearings together, and held meetings together. That is exactly the way it should be, and I am proud that Senator Kohl and I were able to achieve and promote a bipartisan consensus on important antitrust issues in many critical parts of our economy.
Senator Kohl and I also worked together to write and pass into law the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act in 2000. We worked on this bill after learning that many law enforcement agencies did not have the funding to process DNA material from crime scenes and those DNA samples ended up just sitting on shelves and not getting analyzed. Our law provides funding to process these samples, identify criminals--such as rapists--and get them off the streets. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to work with Herb Kohl.
Mr. President, I also have had the distinct pleasure to work together with Senator Mikulski on the Retirement Security and Aging Subcommittee and the Aging Subcommittee. I always knew that my good friend from Maryland was a tough negotiator, but over the last Congress, I was reminded of just how determined and tough she can be when she knows she's in the right. Thank heavens, she and I were on the same side.
Senator Mikulski and I worked together this year and in 2000 to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, and we also joined forces to fight against efforts to weaken the pension plans of millions of manufacturing retirees and employees. It was during these negotiations that I was glad to have a partner as tough as Senator Mikulski, and I thank her.
Since 1999, I have been the co-chairman of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force with the senior Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin. Together, Senator Levin and I have fought--side-by-side--to pass laws and increase funding to help restore and protect the Great Lakes. We passed the Great Lakes Legacy Act, which has brought over $60 million to clean up contaminated rivers flowing into the lakes, including $25 million to clean up the Ashtabula River.
Senator Levin and I also recently won Senate passage of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act to increase the authorization of grants to protect the Great Lakes, and we worked together to prevent invasive species from entering the Great Lakes by authorizing and funding a barrier in Chicago, where Asian carp might enter the Lakes. I thank Senator Levin for his dedication to this unique natural resource.
I have spent a great deal of my time here in the Senate fighting for those who are less fortunate and who cannot fend for themselves--not only here in the United States, but also throughout the world. Over the years, I have sponsored and passed several provisions that have increased funding for humanitarian programs.
I want to thank my good friend Senator Dick Durbin for working with me to increase funding by $100 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS and to increase funding by over $60 million for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. Senator Durbin has also worked with me to help provide assistance to the poorest nation in our hemisphere--and that is Haiti. Dick, Fran and I traveled together to Haiti and I thank him for joining me in efforts to provide a better life for the people of Haiti. He is a good and compassionate man, and I thank him for his work and for his friendship.
Once again, these things would not have happened but for Mitch McConnell, Pat Leahy, and the people on the subcommittee who provided the money.
While I am talking about Senator DURBIN, I also want to thank him for joining me in passing legislation that guaranteed that the children of service members who die in service to their country don't lose their free health care coverage. Before our law, children of service members who died serving their country would lose their free health care after 3 years. But, children whose parents were in the military and did not die would receive health care until they turned 21. That just wasn't right, and Senator DURBIN agreed with me. Together, we changed that law. I thank him for working with me on that effort, and I thank Chairman WARNER for working with us on this bill, it could not have happened without him.
Mr. President, I also had the pleasure of working with Senators DURBIN, Corzine, BIDEN, and BROWNBACK, as we have tried help bring a stop to the terrible genocide that is occurring in Darfur.
Together, we have increased funding for humanitarian relief and security efforts in this war-torn region, where so many innocent victims continue to suffer. I was proud to join my friends in this effort, and I know they will continue this fight.
Mr. President, none of these important increases to these HIV/AIDS and humanitarian aid programs could have happened without the help of the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee--Senators MCCONNELL and Senator LEAHY. To both of them and to their able staffs, thank you.
I want to thank Senator FRANK LAUTENBERG for working with me to set a national .08 blood alcohol content standard for alcohol-impaired drivers.
This was a tough fight, and Senator LAUTENBERG is a good man to have with you in such a fight. I am proud to say that in 2000, we successfully got our bill passed and signed into law.
Mr. President, I want to thank Senator BYRD, not only for the legislation that we have worked on together, but more importantly for the outstanding service he has given this body and this country. Senator BYRD and I worked together years ago to pass the Continued Dumping Subsidy Offset Act--a law that helped bring hundreds of millions of dollars to U.S. manufacturing companies that were the victims of illegal dumping by foreign companies. This law brought over $315 million to manufacturers in Ohio. Thank you Senator BYRD for the work we've done together and for your outstanding service to this Senate and to this Nation.
Mr. President, I want to wish the best to all of my fellow Senators who were defeated this fall or who are retiring this year--Senators FRIST, SANTORUM, TALENT, BURNS, ALLEN, CHAFEE, DAYTON, and JEFFORDS. They are all good people and all good friends. I wish them well.
Mr. President, I want to take a moment to say that I still miss my good friend Senator Paul Wellstone. Senator Wellstone was a determined and outstanding public servant. In 1998, Paul and I worked closely together to write the law that reformed and improved the effectiveness of job training programs. It was always a pleasure to work with Paul Wellstone--such a passionate and committed and dedicated public servant.
Mr. President, as my colleagues all know, none of us could get anything done here in this body if it were not for the extremely dedicated, hard-working people on our staffs. I am grateful for the men and women who work for me now and those who have worked for me all through my time in the United States Senate. I didn't say thank you often enough, but I ant each of you to know how much I sincerely appreciate all you have done for me--all you have done to help the people of Ohio and the people of this Nation.
I say to them: You have done such great work. You have helped people. You have improved their lives and, in some cases, you have saved lives through your efforts. You have made a difference, and you all should be very proud. I know I am proud of each and every one of you.
I have been so fortunate to have had so many qualified, talented people working for me over the years. Time will not permit me to name each one, but I thank all of them collectively for their efforts.
Thank you to all the schedulers who through the years got me where I needed to go and kept me on track. I would be lost, literally, without you.
Thank you to all my personal assistants and executive assistants. You all have taken such good care of me, which, admittedly, has been tough to do. I have not made it easy.
Thank you to my press team--all my past press secretaries and press assistants. You have helped spread the word about the good things this team has done for the people of Ohio. I thank you for your diligence and dedication.
I thank my legislative staff--all my legislative assistants, professional committee staff, legislative aides, legislative correspondents, researchers, and writers. You have been the best team any Senator could ever ask for. I am proud of you. You have worked so hard, so tirelessly, and with such commitment. You got things done. You have made a difference.
Thank you to all my current and past staff assistants, receptionists, and interns. You have been on the front lines every single day. You have heard a lot. You manned the phones. You greeted all of our constituents. You have helped me in countless ways. You have done your job so well with great respect, grace, and patience.
Thank you to our mail team. One thing is certain in this business: the letters and e-mails never stop coming. That is a good thing. Thank you for opening all the correspondence, sorting it, taking care of it, and making sure responses got out. I bless you for that.
Thank you to all my past office managers and system administrators. You have kept my office running. Without each of you, we couldn't open our doors each business day. You are great.
Thank you to my entire team in Ohio--to all my current and past regional directors, district representatives, staff assistants, and caseworkers. You are the best Ohio has to offer. I am proud to have worked with each one of you. I couldn't have done my job without you. You all know our State so very well. You have been so caring and kind to our constituents. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
While it would be impossible for me to talk about each of my past staff members individually, I would like to take a moment to say a few things about some of my key advisers over the years. I will dearly miss working with each one of you. Bluntly, I don't know how I am going to get along.
Thank you to my past and present finance team. They are the ones who got me here: Mary Sabin, Rachel Pearson, Amy Ford Bradley, and last, but certainly not least, Brooke Bodney, who has taken me through the last few years. You all have amazed me over the years. You have pushed me, prodded me, you made me do something I don't like to do: make phone calls and ask people for money. Please know how grateful I am to each one of you. Your jobs were not easy, and you did a phenomenal job.
Thank you to my past campaign managers--Curt Steiner in 1992, Laurel Pressler Dawson in 1994, Josh Rubin in 2000, and Matt Carle from my 2006 race. Curt has been my friend for over a quarter of a century. He is smart and political savvy. Laurel was a great campaign manager in 1994. I will have more to say about her in a minute. Josh has been a permanent fixture in the DeWine family since the early 1990s. I have always appreciated his advice and wise counsel. Matt did a fine job this past election cycle. He knows Ohio very well.
I would also like to mention my friend Chuck Greener who has been a friend for over 25 years. I am grateful for his friendship and wise counsel. He always takes my calls. He always calls back. He is there for me. He is there for Fran.
Thank you to each of the individuals who have served as staff directors of my subcommittees. Louis Dupart served as staff director for our Antitrust Subcommittee. Louis always came to me with such great legislative ideas. He is the one who came to me with the idea of the Nazi war crime legislation. I will forever be grateful for that.
Pete Levitas also served for several years now as staff director for the Antitrust Subcommittee. Pete is a brilliant lawyer. He has been one of my most dedicated staff members, and he is one of the funniest people I have ever met. He can always make me laugh, and we always need people around us, Pete, to make us laugh.
Dwayne Sattler served as staff director for our Employment and Training Subcommittee. He worked tirelessly to help reform this country's job training program. A lot of the bill was his work product. I thank him for that.
Last, but certainly not least, Karla Carpenter, who has served as the staff director for three of my subcommittees: Aging, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, and Retirement Security. What in the world will I do without her? She has been with me since 1994. She is, as she likes to say, ``the smartest person she knows.'' Mr. President, let me tell you, she is certainly one of the smartest persons I know. She got our Adoption and Safe Families Act signed into law, as well as the Older Americans Act and pensions bill. Thank you, Karla.
I would also like to thank my able Intelligence Committee designee, John Pack, and my excellent former designees Jack Livingston and Jim Barnett. You have been great advisers.
I have been most fortunate to have had the chance to work with three of the smartest, hardest working legislative directors around. My first Senate legislative director and chief counsel was Nick Wise. He was also legislative director for me in the House of Representatives. Nick always had a unique ability to analyze an issue and drill it down to the essence of the matter, and then explain it to me. Unique talent.
My next legislative director was Robert Hoffman. He came to my office from Senator Larry Pressler's office, where he was the Senator's legislative director. Robert did a fantastic job for me. He has an unstoppable work ethic. He was so dedicated and had such a solid understanding of the legislative process. I thank Robert.
My current legislative director is Paul Palagyi. What will I do without Paul, who is my go-to guy on so many
things? He has been my LD for nearly 6 years and has built an extraordinary legislative team. Paul has put up with a lot. He is also an adviser for my two dogs at home.
During my time in the Senate, I have had two speechwriters. My first Senate speechwriter was Mike Potemra. I can say with honesty Mike is one of the most intelligent people I know. He is just so knowledgeable. In his own words, Mike is an ``unusual guy.'' That he is, but he is also deeply endearing, and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him. I thank Mike.
Now, Mr. President, I come to the point in my speech where it is not scripted, and that is because it is about Ann O'Donnell. Ann O'Donnell has been my speechwriter. Ann O'Donnell has been someone who has made an unbelievable difference in my life. She is a tireless worker. She is a compassionate person. Fran and I have traveled with Ann to Haiti. I have seen her compassion for the children of Haiti. She is someone who never stops working.
During this past week, because I am leaving the Senate, because I would not be here in January, I have tried to finish giving tribute speeches to all soldiers and troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was an unbelievable task. Ann put it together. She got it done. We did 75 speeches this week. It wouldn't have happened without her. A lot of things I have done would not have happened without her. I thank her. I thank her for being who she is.
I have had two communications directors during my time in the Senate. First was Charlie Boesel. Everyone loves Charlie. His personality is as flamboyant as his taste in colorful clothes. Charlie was a pleasure to work with and did a fine job for us. I will tell you, it was great fun to have Charlie join us for a few days on the campaign trail. Fran and I were so happy to see Charlie back.
My current communications director is Mike Dawson. I first met Mike when I was running for Governor in 1989. Mike, whom I did not know, came to me and kept coming to us and said: Hey, I want to work for you, I want to help you on your campaign. We finally said yes, and he was on the campaign. He worked on my Governor's race and then my Lieutenant Governor's race when I joined George in his bid for Governor. Mike worked in the Voinovich administration, he worked for Senator Voinovich, and he has been my communications director for the last 5 years. I am grateful for his wise counsel. He is my friend. I will always remember what he has done for me.
I have had one State director while I have been in the Senate. That has been Barbara Schenck. Barbara worked with me when I was Lieutenant Governor. She is truly one of the finest individuals I have ever known. She is smart; she is articulate; she is spirited; yes, she is feisty; and she is passionate. She is also extremely compassionate. She has been my right hand in Ohio. I talked to her many days six, seven, eight times. I can't imagine not working with her in the days ahead, but I know she is going to do some amazing things. Barbara, you are the greatest. Thank you.
Finally, my chief of staff, Laurel Pressler Dawson. I truly believe--I have not checked this--that she has been chief of staff to a Senator and a Congressman probably longer than anybody in this body. Laurel has been my chief of staff since January 1983 when I entered the U.S. House of Representatives. We have seen and been through so much together in our personal lives, as well as professional. She has been there during the great tragedies in my family. She has always been there. When our daughter Becky died, she was at the hospital. She was the one who came.
She was the one person who had the ability to tell me no, and I would listen to her. Everybody needs someone who tells them ``no'' and listens to them. I have been privileged to have her be my most trusted adviser for over two decades. She always just got it done. She managed my organization with great skill. I cannot thank her enough for all she has done for me and for my family.
As my colleagues in the Senate are well aware, Fran and I have a big family. We are blessed. We are parents of 8 children, now the grandparents of 10 grandchildren. I would like to take a couple minutes to talk about my family before I end.
First I thank my oldest child, my son Patrick. I always turned to Pat for his thoughts on policy and politics and have so appreciated his help in my campaigns and his keen advice and his input. Pat's three boys--Michael, Matthew, and Brian--are a delight. They are a delight every day. They were a delight to have on the campaign trail. I thank each of them for all their hard work and their efforts.
I thank my daughter Jill, her husband Bill, and their children, Albert, Isabelle, David, Caroline, Justin, and newborn Mary Frances. Jill and Bill and the kids walked in so many parades this summer and fall and throughout the years, as all our kids have. I can't count them. They have always been so helpful and supportive. I thank Bill for his expertise on issues regarding persons with disabilities. He has helped me understand the needs of those with disabilities. He has helped me do more to help them.
Our son John recently completed his Ph.D. in ecology. Fran and I are so proud of him. He and his wife Michele and their sweet little daughter Josie Jean have recently moved to West Virginia, where John is now working on river restoration.
Our son Brian is engaged to Kalie Spink. They are planning their wedding for this coming April. Fran and I are so looking forward to that and looking forward to having Kalie join our family. Brian works in the best job probably in the family. He works for a minor baseball team, the Carolina Mudcats. I envy him every day.
I thank my daughter Alice for the sacrifices she made this year to help with our campaign. She is a law student at Ohio Northern University--my alma mater--and took the fall semester off to work on the campaign where she was in charge of coalitions. Thank you, Alice. You did a great job.
Our son Mark is a sophomore at the College of Wooster, where he runs cross-country and track. Mark is a good person, a person who is very compassionate. For his Eagle Scout project, he traveled to Haiti, a place my colleagues know is very important to Fran and myself. He planted trees there. He worked with Father Tom Hagan and helped with the reforestation project.
Our daughter Anna is a freshman in high school. She is a runner like all her brothers and sisters. She is a sweet, quiet, caring young woman. She has put up with a lot this past year with her mom and dad being gone quite a bit of the time, going back and forth between Washington and Ohio. But she has handled it so well. We are very proud of her.
To each of my children and grandchildren, Mr. President, I simply want to say thank you and I love you.
As an only child growing up, I was dating Frances in high school and I used to love going over to her house because she had a big family. There was always something going on. I want to thank Fran's brothers and sisters and their families for all they have done for us over the years, their friendship and love and help and support. We are so very fortunate to have all of them in our lives. I want to thank Fran's parents, especially, Bill and Mary Struewing. You are great. No one could have a better mother-in-law and father-in-law. You have put up with me since Fran and I started dating in high school, for a long time, and for that I am very grateful.
Of course, I want to thank my parents, Dick and Jean DeWine. I have talked about my dad on the Senate floor many times in regard to the K-Company and what he did during World War II. I could not have asked for two more wonderful parents. They always believed in me. They gave me my interest in politics. They gave me their values. They gave me their work ethic, and I owe them everything, and I love them very much.
Finally, every day I think of our daughter Becky who died in 1993. Becky was a compassionate, honest, caring young woman who would have done so much with her life. I think of her every day. The things that Fran and I do for children, we do in her memory.
In conclusion, I love Ohio. I love our country. I see a great future for both my State and for America. I am an optimist. My wife Fran says that anybody with 8 kids by definition is an optimist, and I am an optimist. Throughout my career in the Senate and after I leave, I will continue to care about the health and education and welfare of our kids. I will continue to care about stopping the spread of AIDS around the globe. I will continue to help improve the lives of our world's most impoverished men, women, and children. I will continue to care about highway safety and the importance of making our cars and roads safer. I will continue to care about making our communities safe for our families, safe from crime, safe from terrorism.
As I leave the Senate, however, I leave behind unfinished business, as we all do, and I encourage my colleagues to continue the work we shared on so many different issues.
Just this week I introduced the Pediatric Medical Device bill with Senator Dodd, a bill that will help ensure that our children have access to lifesaving medical devices that are designed specifically for small bodies. I hope someone will take up that cause.
I thank my colleague Ted Kennedy for working with me, and I was working with him, on the bill to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco. It is long past due. It needs to happen. It has not passed, but it will. I know it will pass. I know it will pass, because it is the right thing to do.
Two days ago I introduced a bill to make cars and roads safer for our families, especially our children. That bill would simply direct the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration to research new ways to keep pregnant women and their unborn children safer in our cars. I hope someone will take that up as well.
I will finally conclude my remarks by thanking the most important person in my life, my bride of 39 years, Fran. As most people know, I would be literally lost without her. She takes care of me. She takes care of our family. She is our rock. Fran is my partner in all things. She is my best friend. She is the passion of my life. She is my love. She is everything to me. We met in the first grade. It took me until the seventh grade to talk her into going out on a date with me, and it took me 7 more years to convince her to marry me. I am a persistent man. We got married between our sophomore and junior years at Miami. We tell people it was a productive 4 years at Miami. We ended up with two degrees and two children by the time we left. I could not have done any of this without her by my side.
She has been through every one of my campaigns. She has done everything. Thirty ice cream socials for 2,500 people who just dropped by her house on a Sunday. She has done that for 30 years. She does anything and everything. She is smart, she is witty, she is organized, and she is very compassionate. She accomplishes more than anyone I know, and she never stops working. I love her more than anything else in the world. Someone said to me earlier this year that if I lost my reelection bid, it wouldn't be so bad, because even if I lost my Senate seat, Fran would still be there by my side. They were right. And for that, I am very fortunate.
Mr. President, my colleagues, my friends, come visit us in Ohio. That is where we will be. After this month, we will be in our home in the county where we grew up, the county where we were born, the county where we live. We will be home in Greene County. Come see us. You are always welcome.
I thank the Chair for his indulgence, and my colleagues.