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Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, it is a pleasure to be with the senior Senator from Arkansas discussing somebody for whom we both have a great deal of affection; that is, the former Congressman of the Third District of Arkansas, the district I used to represent. Congressman Hammerschmidt represented the district for 26 years, and he just recently celebrated his 90th birthday on May 4.
John Paul has led a life dedicated to public service. In fact, that is truly an understatement. Along with that, he served as a combat pilot during World War II and is part of the ``greatest generation.''
Once he returned home to Harrison, AR, he ran the family lumber business while spearheading efforts to create a two-party political system in the State of Arkansas. John Paul helped mold the political landscape of the State of Arkansas, and he never lost sight of the reason why he was doing that and why he worked so hard to provide a two-party system, that being the people of Arkansas.
By the time he was elected to Congress in 1966 as the first member of his party to represent Arkansas in Congress since Reconstruction, John Paul had a reputation of working to help others. He did that for 26 years as a Member of Congress. By the time he retired, he was the ranking member
of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He served in Congress with the same enthusiasm that propelled him into office and was well respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his strong work ethic, approach to getting work done, and his responsiveness to constituent service.
Eleven years ago, when I was a newly-elected Member of Congress who also represented the district John Paul used to represent, he gave me advice that I continue to follow; that is, the key to good governing and the key to good public service is that, once elected, there aren't any more Republicans, there aren't any more Democrats--there are just the people of Arkansas and the people of America, and we need to take care of them.
His words ring as true today as they did 11 years ago. His efforts to work with his colleagues in both political parties benefitted Arkansas and America and show what it truly means to be bipartisan. Despite being in the House minority, he was able to achieve much success in Congress because he recognized that the key to good governing and good public service is that you treat everyone fairly and set aside political differences. This ideology allowed him to be influential in a variety of different areas. He is credited with securing improvements for roads and infrastructure projects, including Interstate 540 and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, protecting the Buffalo River under the designation as a national river, and setting the example of exemplary constituent service that we strive to continue today.
He is showing no signs of letting his age slow him down by any means. He continues his service on numerous boards and for organizations with the same vigor he demonstrated throughout his career. John Paul played an important role in our State's history, and he is still continuing to play an important role in our State's history. He also was an important influence on me, as he was to so many others in Arkansas. I consider him a friend and a mentor.
I recall the first time that I was in Washington being sworn in, in 2001. He took my brother and me to the Members' dining room. It was a very special time, and just his hospitality to all of us throughout the years was so gracious. I appreciate very much his advice and friendship.
John Paul is able to leave his fingerprints on projects important to Arkansas through his hard work, dedication, and commitment. He never forgot about the people he was sent to Washington to represent, and we are truly grateful for his tireless efforts to represent the people of Arkansas.
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