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Public Statements

Tribute to Senators

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

TRIBUTE TO SENATORS -- (Senate - November 19, 2008)


Mr. SMITH. Madam President, I thank my leader, Mitch McConnell. Winston Churchill observed that ``Democracy is not always a polite employer.'' That is the case in my reelection effort. Yet I feel nothing but gratitude to the people of my State.

I acknowledge the wisdom of the people of Kentucky in your reelection and of the wisdom of my colleagues for electing you again as our leader. You are an articulate advocate for causes that I think are important for America not to forget in the coming days. It is one of the high privileges of my life that I have been able to serve with you as a friend and as a colleague.

I thank you and I thank my Senate family, without respect to party, for the help that was given to Sharon and me at the most painful time of our lives--to find additional meaning in the life of our son by helping the sons and daughters of others. I hope and pray that my Senate colleagues, while I am gone, will not forget those who struggle with mental illness. I am so proud of Senator Domenici, Senator Kennedy, and others who championed mental health parity. It has been a privilege to be on their team in this cause. It is a silent cause. It is one that does not get a lot of ink or much attention because America is still opening its mind to this important area of medicine. But we have blazed a new trail, and much of it was because of your leadership, sir.

For the privilege of serving with you, of serving my State, of serving with these colleagues here, I thank God and I thank the State of Oregon and I say God bless America.

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, may I just add a word to my friend from Oregon. He has had an extraordinarily successful tenure here. In my view, I would say to my friend from Oregon, you can always look back on these 12 years with a sense of accomplishment. You have been a major player in this institution on a variety of different, extremely important matters that will affect each generation to come. So on behalf of all of our Republican colleagues, and I am sure on behalf of everyone in the Senate, I thank you for your extraordinary service.


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