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Mitch McConnell
  U.S. Senate Sen. Mc Connell Tribute to Sen. Lamar Alexander  CSPAN  December 2, 2020 7:41pm-7:57pm EST

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[applause]. [applause]. [applause]. [applause]. mr. president on a completely different matter, the senate resolves around people. the body consists of 100 individuals. one of few duties concerns of personnel when we examine and confirm. and all of these dedicated staff professionals that make this place go. in the days of my great honor
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and regrettable task to honor someone who secured all three parts of that senatorial crown. the senior senator from tennessee. the chairman of the committee on health education of labor intentions. alexander. and i 31 set foot here is a talented young staffer. he did. in decades later he appeared before us is a super successful former governor and university president the nomination. for the past 18 years, we got new serve on one of the most popular senators modern american history. i've known him for more than 50 years. we 31 met in 1969 when i was working for senator, cook. he worked down in the executive branch. we made the suggestion of his
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previous boss and mentor. he just off to serious young guys and even some livelier social lives. now this may shock you. i'm afraid that we did not exactly go crazy and paint the town red. as young men. but i will take a five decade friendship any day. both of us headed back home to continue our prayers. right future would likely lay in store for him for sure. and a reference for public service started early. i believe he was about ten years old. when his father himself a longtime local official took him to meet his hometown congressman howard baker senior. the father of his future boss. he handed him a time. i think he was hooked right then and there. decades later when the mark he
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was in his home town of maryville, space began with a story about his mother. she had read where he lovingly described his upbringing as lower middle class. she had taken umbrage to that. after all, the more had a library card and music lessons in her words, everything you needed that was important. and i would certainly add loving parents to the list. this son of two educators grew up in the importance of schooling. he later references mothers work in early childhood education by saying that is probably the only secretary of education in history who spent five years in kindergarten and the passion would remain throughout lamar's career. this cutting edge focus on
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improving opportunities and reforming education benefited tennessee hugely. in the 1980s. a normal nation during his time in president bush and 41 cabinet. that's not the only way that lamar has honored his roots. you can walk across the stage entire state of tennessee before the age of 40 and serve as governor and senator than anyone else in the history of the volunteer state . without becoming entirely intertwined with the place. every corner, of estate is better for his service. his ground breaking work to bring home groundbreaking jobs estate dividend and trend dividends. and so is his focus on infrastructure and veterans. but alas, even really a statewide in the national reputation does not always translate into honest-to-goodness celebrity status.
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following his governorship, the stretch of hallway was fittingly named the lamar alexander parkway to honor him. i further understand the sometime later, amar was driving on the very road and stopped for breakfast. when it's time to pay for his food, handed over his credit card. and woman on the other side of the counter glanced at the name on the card and back at lamar. she said hey, we named after the throat. [laughter]. and as a matter i'm certain the ninos luke chapter four. no prophet is accepted in his hometown. family was not recognized on their own highway. here in the senate, the mars impact was massive and the convictions have been
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straightforward. he starts with a very firm framework. the right of senator principles that ronald reagan used to rebuild a prosperous america. indeed communism. the federal government is not meant to take of our states and neighborhoods or our lives. lamar career is also confirmed in the conservative governments is not a contradiction in terms. there are genuine public goods that the government's job to secure. public land, public education in certain aspects of public health. his dedicated himself to making those things better and stronger especially for those learning opportunities to most. this vision allies of the greatest traditions as the republican party and indeed of american history. the government that is limited but effective and smart.
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a system or power stay close to the people working families. and they can prosper. these principles made her colleague national leader long before he was sworn in as the senator. but they've reached full flourishing and astonishingly effective leadership right here in this body. students, families, and teachers benefit every day from the every student succeeds act. chairman alexanders makeover following no child left behind. one report, the largest evolution of federal controls for the states and a quarter of a century. millions of medically americans also have a champion and her friend from tennessee. the overwhelmingly bipartisan 31st century cares act was the single most important law of the entire 114 congress. paving the way for more
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innovation and faster innovation. to benefit patients who have no time to waste. another lamar alexander production. his leadership was instrumental in the landmark legislation we passed in the past two years ago to attack the opioid epidemic. this year, he was a driving force behind the great american outdoors act. the senate's historic project to scare parks and public lands. for generations to come. nevertheless does not end there. there been other education for women's like funding for historical black colleges and universities in simplifying the student loan process. there been laws like modernization act which lamar hammered out with her former: pre- legislative duo from two musical virtuosos in their own rights. senator alexander knows about 50
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different issues as well is most senators know three or four. and some of the most brilliant most thoughtful and most effective legislators any of us have ever seen. he likes to say this about the senate. sardi get here. it is hard to stay here. so while you're here, you might as well try to accomplish something. mission accomplished. and then some. few review senator alexander's resume without knowing the mentally my suspect he arrived is an established hot hot he threw his weight around. but even as lamar has passed the levers of power here, his character has never been captured. and he made clear that he is just a little guy from tennessee the whole time. we had more than just a massive legislator to call upon.
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we've been blessed with sober honest deliverance information. some of cares as much about serving institution is near-term results that he can ring out of it. from daily conversations to committee business to the most dramatic moments on the floor. there in the minority or the majority. he treats his callings as he would hope to be treated. his work to build consensus and a consensus based body he defended the senate and the framers. as no exaggeration is one of the most brilliant people that i've met in my life. his mind is a steel trap. i understand to keep his staff experts on the conference table
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for long sessions turning a complex issue over and over until they are live as the best path forward the most precise concise way to communicate it. mastery of the english language and cannot forget to mention, my friends. lamar really does look like the model that he inherited from the late author, alex haley. find the good in price them. and i myself leaned on his wisdom for anyears. my think i've earned just as much on his optimism. his can-do spirit and his ability to look in the right side.
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and more hard work to mak it brighter still. so i am going to. [silce]. [silence]. i am going to miss our regular dinners. even for weeknight schuling an official one trait limit. and like i said mr. president, we were not exactly party animals in her 20s either. but here is something else the never changes. how reassuring i is to be waiting a question. and see alexaer across the
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table. [silence]. [silence]. you know the senate can be often not or only our colleagues but our spouses and our loved ones that olga folded it into the extended family around here. and salute, i am grateful as it turned out mitch mcconnell was not the most important person. not by a mile. alexander is a remarkable woman, the force of nature an incredible partner for lamar. she raised a young family and the governor's mansion for eight years. she charmed and impressed low voters during the largest
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campaigns in the market itself. and devoted her own career public health and philanthropy. shared love and mutual respect and inspire everyone. just about the finest but the u.s. senate has ever had. so we are grateful to call her our friend as well. so as much as i am dreading life in the senate without my brilliant friend, even i can begrudge him the silver lining. most distinguished public servant has more than earned the right to spend more days fly fishing, walking trails in the smokies or mountains and waking up in blackberry farm. in a much larger share of time with his family. at about six years ago, howard baker, here in the floor he quoted another senator who said when he came to the senate, there was howard baker and then
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there was the rest of us. my friend for 18 years has been lamar alexander. and then there's been the rest of us. so i'm sorry. but you're leaving this body and those of us in it in the nation that exist to serve stronger and better because you are here. >> thank you mr. president. thirty-one, let me add my words