TRIBUTE TO SENATORS -- (Senate - December 11, 2008)
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Mr. COLEMAN. Madam President, when the Founders envisioned this Senate, I believe they hoped it would be a place where strong opinions, established life skills and varied experience would come together to serve the nation. Senator GORDON SMITH of Oregon has matched that standard and the whole nation has benefited.
I have always been encouraged and inspired by Senator Smith's forward-looking mind and his energetic advocacy of a better life for all Americans. He has fought for better schools for our children. He confronted the reality of America's ``drop-out culture'' and fought for individualized attention for at-risk kids.
We have worked together to ensure that the Medicaid Program fulfills its promise to America's less fortunate, and to extend the excellent quality of American health care to a broader and broader share of the population.
It has been an honor to work with GORDON SMITH on the Aging Committee in particular. His tireless advocacy to ensure that our seniors are afforded the dignity and respect they deserve has been an inspiration.
GORDON SMITH has also been a strong voice for Oregonians on the environment and the natural treasures in their State. And he turned personal tragedy into a nationwide effort to prevent suicide.
On issue after issue, GORDON SMITH has demonstrated a boundless enthusiasm for the process of reform, and a confidence that we can always make government programs more responsive, more relevant and more effective for the American people.
Like the modern day Oregon pioneers he represents, GORDON SMITH has always demonstrated both a fierce independence and a strong belief that there is a better way--if we dream big, work hard and stick together, there is no problem too big for America.
In ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,'' Hollywood memorialized the commonsense man, of impeccable character, as the ideal Senator. GORDON SMITH would have fit the part perfectly. I will dearly miss his integrity, his enthusiasm, and his friendship in this place. But I am excited for what the next chapter of his leadership will mean to Oregon and this country. I hope we can all bring more of his can-do spirit and positive energy to the urgent challenges we face in the days ahead.