Today, Senator Mike Johanns will continue a long-standing Senate tradition when he delivers President George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address on the Senate Floor.
"It is a privilege to read this historic and timeless speech on the floor of the Senate," said Senator Johanns. "President Washington's Farewell Address remains an important and relevant speech in American history, and one which still offers sage advice to all elected officials. I am honored to be the first Nebraska senator in more than sixty years selected to carry on this century-old Senate tradition."
President Washington's Farewell Address has been read annually by a Senator on the floor of the U.S. Senate since 1862. The tradition was started to boost morale during the Civil War, and became a yearly tribute in 1893. Customarily, a first-term Senator is selected for the honor.
Senator Johanns is the first Nebraska Senator since 1940 to be selected to read the address, and the 4th since the tradition began. Previous Senators from Nebraska who have read the address are Charles Manderson (1893); Elmer J. Burkett (1907); and Edward R. Burke (1940).