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Public Statements


Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Connecticut. I, like many of us, come to the floor and want to congratulate Mr. Klein for his leadership on this issue and bringing us together actually in an area that I think most folks, if you reflect back, you can think of a favorite teacher. Let me tell you a little bit about one of my favorite teachers.

My fourth grade teacher was Lillian Anderson. Lillian Anderson was 65 years old and I was in the last class. Maybe I caused her to retire, but I was the last class that Ms. Anderson had. Ms. Anderson was one of those people at Ben Franklin School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, that began to open up our eyes, myself and my classmates, to the State of Illinois, and that's a tradition that we have in Illinois.

Mr. Speaker, as a fine product of the public schools in Illinois, you know that fourth graders in Illinois begin to learn about the State. We learn the State flower, the violet. We learn the State song, which I will not sing for you. We learn the State bird, the cardinal, and all of these things.

And what happened to me was in Ms. Anderson's class, beginning to learn about the three branches of government, in all of those things, suddenly this was a whole new area that was revealed to me.

I grew up in a family that wasn't active when it came to politics. My mom and dad would vote, but that was pretty much it. So here I was a young student, a young boy in Ms. Anderson's class, and a seed was planted by that dear woman. The seed was later watered for me when I was in eighth grade and took the Constitution test, and I was one of those kids in eighth grade that couldn't get enough of it, absolutely loved it.

My point is that there were teachers along the way that encouraged and nurtured me, and I have a strong suspicion that, as we reflect, every one of us can point to somebody along the way, in addition to those people in our immediate families, but somebody along the way that encouraged us, that saw a little something in us, moved us along, took the time to pull us aside and give us an important word. I think that that legacy is the great benefit of the teaching profession today because they don't know all of the ways in which they've influenced people.

So I want to thank Mr. Klein. I want to thank him for bringing this resolution to the floor, for having the Congress today pause and to reflect on those people who were influential in bringing us here today, and I know he's worked very hard to reach out to folks on both sides of the aisle.

I want to thank my friend from Connecticut (Mr. Shays) for yielding.

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