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Public Statements

Farewell to the Senate

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

FAREWELL TO THE SENATE -- (Senate - November 20, 2008)


Mr. DOMENICI. Mr. President, I rise now because I look around and I don't think there is any Senator left on the floor who has served longer than I with him. He has had his 40; I have had my 36.

Senator, I just want to say this to you. The Constitution of the United States said that there will be a difference between the Senate and the House. They said the way to get a constitution is to make sure they provide that individually the States would be adequately represented. And they said: We will make sure of that by creating a U.S. Senate where two Senators represent the State.

My friend, I want to say to you, obviously I have traveled a little bit different path in my 36 years, but many times the paths have crossed--you and this Senator. I do want to say that, more than anyone else, you have taught me the meaning of representing my State. You are unabashed about that. That caused me on many occasions to think about what I was doing and whether I was representing my State correctly, to the full extent of my ability, and whether I did that with gusto, knowing that we needed things. For we are comparable in that we are a very poor State. We are among the last that came in, and we have many of the same problems you have.

It has truly been a luxury of my life to work with you, to see how you got things done, and, from time to time, to be able to help you because you asked--you were unabashed in that regard too--to help your State. You would ask any of us to join you in your cause, and most of us did that willingly.

Mr. BYRD. You bet.

Mr. DOMENICI. But, Senator, I wish to say just a word to the people of your State.

We know Ted Stevens as a Senator representing you people. A big event has occurred in the life of Ted Stevens that you people of Alaska quite properly have been involved in. But none of us who have worked with him could let this day pass with anyone not knowing--whether they be in Alaska, a Native of Alaska or resident of Alaska or a Native, true Native--all of you must know of the high respect and great esteem in which we hold your Senator. We are most grateful that you sent him here for 40 years. For some of us, it ends too abruptly, but every ride seems to have an end.

All I hope is, with what you have left in your life, that you will feel this day is a special one, when Senators have put their hearts out here on the Senate floor to tell you who you were to them, what you meant to them. I hope I have done my share in my few moments. Nobody will know how many times we have talked and met, how many times you and I have shared personal things and gone on with our own business, but we were certain to mention our personal problems along with it, things we wanted to share as men. I thank you for every bit of that.

To the extent that some of our prayers and the prayers of some of our relatives whom I asked personally to pray for you--I hope it has had some good. I hope when you were down, you were lifted a bit. I hope that today you are going to be lifted more so that you can stand what is ahead of you with a high head and come out of it with more of the successes of your life right out in front of you for you to feel and touch, as those hard issues still remain.

Thank you for your friendship.

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