ROBERT T. STAFFORD WHITE ROCKS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA -- (House of Representatives - January 05, 2007)
Mr. WELCH of Vermont. Mr. Speaker, it is with mixed emotions that I stand here on my first full day as a Member of Congress to say good bye to a great Vermont statesman. Senator Bob Stafford passed away last December at the age of 93. I feel a deep sense of pride to have the first Bill I introduce be one that honors Bob Stafford's commitment to Vermont by redesignating the White Rocks National Recreation Area as the ``Robert T. Stafford White Rocks National Recreation Area'.
Senator Stafford was born in Rutland in 1913. He had a long and distinguished career as a civil servant to the state, serving the state for nearly 30 years first as Governor, Representative, and Senator. Robert Stafford was a man who knew Vermont, and understood how to best serve Vermonters.
It was through his many public service positions around the state that he learned the importance of moderation and bipartisanship. He served as Rutland County State's attorney, as Deputy State Attorney General, and then as State Attorney General. In the late 1950's he was elected Lieutenant Governor, and in 1959 he became Governor.
In 1960, Bob Stafford was elected to Vermont's sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He won five successive re-elections. In September 1971, he resigned his House seat to accept appointment to the U.S. Senate following the death of Senator Winston Prouty. After winning a special election in 1972, he proceeded to represent Vermont in the Senate for the next 17 years.
When he came to Washington, a member of the Republican Party, he formed many close relationships with members of both parties. Senator Stafford was able to be effective because of his reliance on moderation and compromise. He was a leader among his peers, and became an advocate for issues that were close to him and to Vermont. Affordable education and his dedication to the environment became his most important issues. The Stafford Student Loan program has made higher education more accessible for millions of Americans.
While his achievements in the areas of education and federal disaster relief were very important, it is the legacy he has left behind for the work he did in protecting the environment that he was most proud of. Bob Stafford shared Vermonters' belief that we have a moral obligation to leave for our children a cleaner environment than the one we inherited. He was a leader and visionary who helped shape and strengthen some of our Nation's most critical environmental laws for over two decades. Serving as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee from 1981-1986, he led the charge to expand and strengthen the Superfund toxic waste cleanup law in the mid 1980's.
Please join me today in honoring the tremendous life and service of Senator Bob Stafford. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and pass the Congress by unanimous consent.
The Senate bill was ordered to be read a third time, was read the third time, and passed, and a motion to reconsider was laid on the table.