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Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I rise to congratulate my longtime friend and colleague from Vermont, Senator Patrick Leahy, on the occasion of his 14,000th vote. That is a lot of votes. In the long history of our Republic, only six Senators have achieved that milestone before him.
Born in Montpelier, VT, our State's capital, educated at St. Michael's High School in Montpelier, St. Michael's College in Colchester, VT, and Georgetown University Law School, Senator Leahy was first elected to the Senate in 1974--the first and, to this date, only Democrat elected to the Senate from Vermont. I remember that campaign very well because I was in it, and Pat Leahy got a lot more votes than I did.
Before assuming the office of U.S. Senator, Pat Leahy gained a national reputation for law enforcement during his 8 years as State's attorney in Chittenden County--the State's largest county.
Over his 3 1/2 decades here in the Senate, Patrick Leahy has many remarkable achievements. Let me just mention a few.
Cognizant of the suffering and tragedy that landmines cause for civilian populations, Patrick Leahy has led, in this body and, in fact, the entire U.S. Government, the campaign to end the production and use of antipersonnel landmines. Many lives and limbs have been saved as a result of Senator Leahy's efforts.
With similar commitment and passion, as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy has led the effort to insist on fairness at the Department of Justice, to support free speech and a free press, and to require and maintain openness and transparency in government. At a time of major infringements on privacy rights in this country from both the private sector and the government, Pat Leahy has been a strong champion of civil liberties and the Constitution of the United States.
Senator Leahy, reflecting Vermont's very strong consciousness regarding the need to preserve our environment, has for many years been a champion of environmental protection and has been named over and over one of the top environmental legislators by the Nation's foremost conservation organizations. He has been, as Vermonters well know, a special champion in preserving the high quality of water in Lake Champlain, our beautiful lake, perhaps the most valuable natural resource we have in our State.
Today, I congratulate, on behalf of the people of the State of Vermont, Senator Patrick Leahy on the occasion of his 14,000th vote and look forward to working with him as closely in the future as we have worked in the past.
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