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Commemorating David Hoppe

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, today marks the last day in Congress of one of the most remarkable people I have had the pleasure of meeting in my entire life, one of the most decent, clearly one of the most outstanding individuals, and that is Dave Hoppe, who will be leaving Congress to go on to some other line of work after today.

We all got to know Dave as chief of staff of Senator Lott. He has labored in the vineyards of the Senate and the House for 27 years. Without ego, without a desire to go out and seek public office, like many of us have done, Dave Hoppe devoted himself to improving America and to advancing the causes in which he believed by working through elected officials.

Dave is originally from Wisconsin. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1973. By the way, his birthplace was Baraboo, Wisconsin, which also happens to be the place where the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus began.

Dave came to Washington after graduating from Notre Dame to have an impact on his country. As he ends his public service today, there is no question that he has had an enormous impact on the lives of all Americans through his work both in the House and the Senate.

There was a fascinating article in USA Today back in 1997 about the impact Dave had on the reauthorization of the IDEA legislation that year. He had a particular interest in it because his son, Gregory, suffers from a disability. Dave, raising that son and living with the disability his son had, had a particular awareness of how to adapt that legislation to the needs of not only his son but a lot of other youngsters who found themselves in the same dilemma.

This is a quote from Dave in the article:

Every night when I came home and every morning when I got up, I saw who it could help.

He was talking about the IDEA reauthorization.

Referring to his son:

I know his horizons are not unlimited, but I want them to be as great as they can be.

What a marvelous way to put Dave's hopes and aspirations for his son. Dave and his wife, Karen, met in a carpool 21 years ago as conservative idealists. He worked for the House Republican study committee and she for the Heritage Foundation. They were engaged 3 weeks after their first date and married December 30th, 1976—a truly remarkable family.

I expect others might want to include this USA Today article, but it is so interesting and so important I ask unanimous consent it be printed in the RECORD.

Mr. McCONNELL. We will miss Dave Hoppe. Senators come and go. Members of the staff come and go. Frankly, about most of us, I expect it will be said we did not in the end have footprints that lasted very long. But having watched Dave Hoppe and his extraordinary accomplishments over the years I have known him, I would say he has made an enormous difference in the life of the Senate and in the life of our Nation.

So, Dave, we wish you well and hope we continue to see you in the future in whatever capacity you may choose to serve. You are the best, the most kind, decent, honorable person many of us ever had the chance to meet.

I yield the floor.

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