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Public Statements

Remembering Senator Craig Thomas

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. OBAMA. Madam President, I rise today to pay tribute to a dear colleague and a tireless advocate for the people of Wyoming, Senator Craig Thomas.

Muhammad Ali once said, ``Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.'' Senator Thomas paid his rent in full.

No truer to his State could a man be than CRAIG THOMAS was. Born and raised on a ranch outside of Cody, WY, he grew up in the Wyoming public school system, attended the University of Wyoming, served as president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau, general manager of the Wyoming Rural Electric Association. He served in both the House and Senate and returned to his State every weekend, visiting hometowns and parks, never losing sight of his constituents and their needs.

His commitment to this country led him to serve with great distinction in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1955 to 1959. Before being elected to the U.S. Congress, he held office for 5 years in the Wyoming State Legislature, where he got his start in politics. And throughout his distinguished political career, Craig Thomas became known for his leadership on issues so critical to the well-being of Wyoming, issues like rural health care access, fiscal responsibility, and the protection of our Nation's park lands. As cochair of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, he urged Congress to continue its support for rural health programs like the Community Health Centers Program, which provides services to over 16 million people living in underserved areas. This is only one of the many legacies he leaves behind.

I am sorry I could have not served longer with Senator Thomas. My memories of him are as a kind, quiet, and humble man. He commanded enormous respect from us all, and had a clarity of vision that did not go unnoticed. In the face of a life-threatening illness, he returned to work this year with the conviction of a cowboy who knows that if you get thrown from a horse, you have to get up and get back on. His courage throughout this tremendous battle will continue to inspire those of us who follow him.

On this sad occasion of his passing, Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to the members of his family, especially his wife Susan and his four children, to his staff, and to the people of Wyoming. I join my colleagues and fellow Americans who are praying for them and mourning their loss during this time of grief.


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