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Blumenthal Gives Floor Speech Commemorating Lieberman's Legacy In Honor Of Senior Senator's Impending Departure From Senate


Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) gave a floor speech commemorating the legacy of U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) in honor of the senior senator's impending departure from the Senate at the end of this year. A video can be found here. Below is a transcript of his remarks:

Mr. President, I want to thank my colleague and friend from Connecticut on behalf of all the people of our state for his lifetime of public service.

Our lives have been intertwined personally and professionally for almost 40 years, and I had the privilege of coming to know Senator Lieberman's family, his parents, who gave him the values and ideals that he has expressed so eloquently and powerfully, repeatedly, throughout America as he did today on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and that dream, which they inspired, is indeed a uniquely American Dream. But it is rooted also in the Stamford and Connecticut community that we share, the ideals of faith, education, intellect that he has exemplified, and those qualities of independence and courage and perseverance in the face of adversity that he has so embodied and taught so many young people and others around our state and around the country. And, of course, the ideals and goals of civility, and, maybe most important for this body, the ideal of public service, which he has exemplified through all of these years, and unremitting, unstinting, unwavering commitment to making the world a better place, person by person, individual by individual, helping make America equal to that great ideal and dream that he has articulated so eloquently.

I have been privileged also to know Joe's wife Hadassah who has added so extraordinarily to his life and made possible so many of his achievements, and this tribute is to her and his family as well as to him.

For the past two years, I've had the privilege of working with Senator Lieberman, a real honor, and I look forward to continuing my work with him, although it will no longer be in this chamber, just as I worked with him before reaching here, following in a sense his professional path as a state senator, as attorney general, and now here.

Many of our colleagues will come to the floor in these remaining days of this session to commemorate the tremendous legacy that he leaves. And it is a legacy of action, not just of words as we have heard today, but action and achievement.

He's been a steadfast supporter of family planning and a woman's right to choose, raising awareness and garnering commitment of congressional colleagues for that cause. He has been a champion of equality and justice, exemplified, for example, in his advocacy of repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He's been a leader on environmental conservation as attorney general of our state, as well as in this body. Especially in the fight to protect Long Island Sound, a treasure of Connecticut and the entire nation. And he was a leader in bringing to this chamber, to the floor, one of the first bills on climate change. His legacy will live on in these efforts. The clean air and treasures in Connecticut and around the country. And his spirit of environmental stewardship that will inspire generations to come. And that ideal of stewardship is also articulated by his remarks here, the stewardship of democracy, of our Republic.

One of Senator Lieberman's signature accomplishments has been the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which he aimed to consolidate disparate agencies to facilitate interagency communication in the wake of 9/11. He made that a mission and he achieved it as Chairman of the Committee of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, as well as a leader on the Armed Services Committee and on that committee, Armed Services, he has championed a strong and vital national defense which remains as essential now as it has been throughout his career.

I'm grateful to Senator Lieberman's support for a bill that I recently introduced, the End Trafficking in Contracting Act, which addresses the problem of human contracting by federal contractors and subcontractors, and his support for that measure I think demonstrates again his commitment not only to equality but helping and working with others in this body who share his goals on a bipartisan basis, as that measure has been and was and will be, as is the cause of ending human trafficking and achieving human rights.

And most recently, in a very personal way, I observed Senator Lieberman's deep empathy for people who are victims of natural catastrophe when the recent spate of storms struck Connecticut. Irene and Sandy. I toured with him, places, seeing in his eyes, and in his voice, his sense of how individuals and their families are affected by this kind of natural disaster.

He is a person of heart and of soul, of big heart and a soul that reaches out to people. So I thank him for his great work, his contribution, his unstinting generosity to the people of our state, Connecticut, through all of his years of service in many different positions, in many different ways, in a myriad of places throughout our state and throughout our nation, and I thank my Connecticut colleague for dedicating his life to public service.

I look forward to being with him, if not in this chamber, in many other places around the country, and continuing to admire his great contributions to our country as well as to our state.

Thank you, Senator Lieberman.

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