TRIBUTE TO THE LATE CONGRESSMAN CHARLIE NORWOOD -- (Senate - February 14, 2007)
Mr. COBURN. Madam President, I want to take a few minutes first to talk about someone who was a very dear friend whom I think was emblematic of what our forefathers thought about when they thought about a U.S. Congressman. His name was CHARLIE NORWOOD. He died yesterday. CHARLIE was a ``tell it like it is' guy. His motivations were always altruistic. They were never self-centered.
He had never been in politics. He was a dentist, and he got fed up. He came here and had a tremendous impact in terms of his voice of common sense, reason, and compassion. The House of Representatives is going to miss that voice, but more important, the American people are going to miss one of the few voices of common sense that we have in Congress today. He leaves a wife, Gloria, and two sons, all supportive of his sacrifice to serve here.
There are a lot of stories told about CHARLIE. I won't go into that. He was always fun to be around. He was always invigorating. And he never quit believing in this wonderful thing we call the American dream.
He fought hard for what he thought was right on immigration. He recognized that if we build a wall, it is not to keep people in; that the opportunities here are so great, what has been created by our Founders and grew through the years is so tremendous, that we ought to continue to take advantage of it.
What I really liked about him was that he was a true citizen legislator. He abandoned his practice and his easy life and came to do the hard work of representing the people of Georgia with common sense and down-home, plain family values. He will be sorely missed. But he leaves a legacy, a legacy to everybody who is out there today who thinks we need to change the Congress of the United States. The legacy he leaves is this: If you are willing to sacrifice and get into the fray, you can come here and make a difference. That is what he proved. His life was not that of a career politician--although that is a wonderful service, and we have dedicated people throughout both Houses of Congress who have dedicated their lives to public service. But he brought a freshness and he brought ideas because his experience was what everybody else in the country was experiencing, not what is experienced among the political elite in this country.
The challenge that CHARLIE leaves for all of us who are not in Congress, who do not like things the way they are, is to actually get involved. That legacy will live on for a long time--I know in his district in Georgia, and also through the State of Georgia--but also for those of us who will continue to remember him and the sacrifices he made.