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tv   U.S. Senate Tribute to Sen. Pat Roberts R-KS  CSPAN  December 10, 2020 7:35pm-8:15pm EST

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through difficulty. as my time in the senate draws to a close i have done my best to impro the lives of kansans and all americans. for decades to accomplish big and small things so tha this generation and future generations might live and hieve the american dream. to kansas i say a humblehank you. thank you for the privilege of presenting you in this great body. to my cleagues, tnk you for ghting on behalf of our great nation and alongside nature preserve this chamber. it is been such a privilege. as i ride off into the sunset to create a new normal for frank and me, i will be cheering for the senate to rebuild the bridges common that will create a new normal. my colleagues, my time is up.
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thank you for yours. . >> mr. president, thank you. senator roberts, thank y for your comments. i am nervous today and more nervous now that i've heard you speabecause i'm concerned that thisay be, for the first time in our lives, that i've ever spoken longer than you. that makes me nervous. i do solemy swear that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that it will bear faith and allegiance to the same. words spoken by pat roberts more than once but on september 15, 1958 age 22. pat roberts joid the marine corps and he has led by his
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oath, by his promise to do exactly that every day thereafter and in every job he pursued and here in the congress the united states in the house and senate he indicated he served as the chief of staff for senator frank carlsonra, one of those kansans who serve the united state senate so highly regarded, even today. he served as the chief of staff for congressman keith sibelius and i met pat roberts 50 years ago in 1969. a f years later in 1934 i became anntern in the office of congressman sibelius. pat has been my b boss for 45 years. [laughter] i describe pat as are most --
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when i describe pat i tell people are most common conversation is never spoken, it is symbols, pat does this. come here, sit down. every time i tell pat this he, in his jack benny voice, will say now cut that out. but for 45 years come here, sit down and p, while you discount that and i highlight it it has been some of the most enjoyable time in my life where i've had the opportunity to be your friend and to listen to what you had to say and i suppose i i thought long and hard i might find something that wasn't good advice but i can't remember so everything in those circumstances was something i continued to value today. i learned something at every conversation.
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knowing pat for 50 years i've told him tt he just keeps me around and puts up with me because i have at least heard of the people he knows. he does know people. pat and iol both grew up in tims of politics in which your relationships with voters and your relationsps with constituents in your relationships with kansans was paramount. pat kn the school superintendent in every and pat knew the executive of the chamber of commerce and the newspaper editor and he knew the president of the county farm bureau. don't know how many times i heard pat say that i'm going home to talk to the coffee klatch in dodge city or sits on the wagon and hear fm kansans what they have to tell us. politics, a you heard from senar roberts, is in his blood and family and wes roberts,
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chairman of t republican national comttee, frankie roberts staff person for strom thurmond. in his blood, and his family there is not just politics but public service. in 1980, pat roberts decided to be an office holder, not an office staffer. the first letr i ever wrote to an editor of a kansas paper was to my hometown where his prima opponent lived. i supported pat roberts in a letter to the editor when his opponent was somebody who was highly regardednd a friend of mine. but pat roberts friendship and his commitment, who he is as human being, his sworn oath told me that pat roberts was the person i wanted to be my congressman and theonstituent
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in me said this is the guy i want serving me and my fellow kansans. he won that election i january 1981 and became a house member representing the first district of kans, known in our state as the big first. the geography of the district today almost true when pat was the congressman is the size and the state of illinois the largest city salina, population about 35000 and it is a rural place and it fit the pat roberts mode of representation which was i know then and they know me. he was elected with a significant majorityf the voters and he won seven times to be reelected to the hse of representatives and he never received less than 60% of the vote ande. in his last election
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the house of representatives received nearly 70% of kansans approval. sitting on those wagon tons and lifting in those cofe klatch is had its consequence. it is the kind of politics that pat describes that i hope we returned to with which it's all about taking ce of kansans and taking care of americans and setting aside our differences and findingal common ground just as canyons particularly rural canyons, have to do in their communy. on january the third, 1997 patent w sworn in as a member of this body. i asked robin, my wife, what i might say today and she said i remember in about 1996 early, maybe late 1995 she answered the phone and it was pat roberts.
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what he said was tell jerry to put his running shoes on. pat roberts gave me g the advantage of knong his plan well in advance of the publicr potential opponents and set the stagin my life m as somebody who you would look at and think no chance of ever being a united states senator but pat roberts found value in me and gave me the opportunity to serve whe i served today. never thought i would catch up with pat and house or in t house of representatives and never thought would catch up with pat roberts in the united ates senate but because he and his friends took an interest in me and because this is america that became possible. pat is only the 34th kansan to serve a term in the united states senate and i like that number. pat will recognize it 34 is spial to kansans because we
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ar the 34th estate admitted to the union and he is the 34th senator to serve a term from kansas in this body. pat roberts told me to put my running shoes on and ge me a chance and we had those running shoes on for a lg time thereafter. pat is thatourth-generation kansan who knows us and i would say one of his greatest contributions to our state to the midwest and to the country has been his dtinguished career in leadership in agriculture. the farm bills that he mentioned, the work with democrats and republicans coming togetherh fighting for competitive and fair markets where producers support for crop insurance and there is no question of what kansas but american farmers, ranchers and producers had a strong voice, have a strong voice in ngress
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as a resultf pat roberts being here. he is distinguished b being the first member of congress to tear both the house and senate agricultural committee. in the next congreslt we will begin the process ofriting another farm bill and itas the first farm bill since the agricultal and food act of 1981 that will be written without pat roberts direct influence. have pat roberts legacy on farmers legacy will be a result of the 200 agricultural rich risk productio act that moderne crop insurance and many, many other pieces of consequential legislation. in his early years in the senate the senator roberts indicated he liked the senate intelligence committee during theime of the 911 attacks and under his leadership committee conducted a
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swping and exhaustive w review of u.s. intelligence which led to critical reforms t put us in a better position and to know more and protectmericans better and that work on the intelligence reform and intelligence reform earned him a spote in a very distinguished guest speaker program that prestigious land and lecture series kansas ste university.d combining his experience and agriculture and intelligence and defense senator roberts has laid the groundwork for the national bio and agro defense facility at his alma mater in manhattan, kansas. it brings great oppornity to our state and we are so pleased to have pat accomplishment benefithe country and our state for generations to come. pat roberts deserves great credit for the eisenhower memorial and i've been aund this issue for a long time an it has been challenging from the
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get-go and nothing was easy and controversy apparently had fallenly every new memorial on e capitol grounds or on the national mall. oui have no doubt that in the absence of past leadership his bringing pple together and perhaps yes, his sense of humor kansans president eisenhower would never be seen, honored and respected at the morial we now have. he, senator roberts, advocates forolicies he believes in and compromises when necessary and always has a way of bringing everyone together often with a joke ready to ease the tensions when things get stressful. s joke, i always tell them that i saw once again it became the funniest member of congress and you got an award and he always would correct me and no, i'm not the funniest member but thmost humorous number.
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so many times he's been designated the most humorous member of congress. some of the most important work he's done for kansans won't be memorialized and passed or signed into law here in washington dc but the meaningful change can be made back home among the people that he and i care for and love and how about in the rural hospitals he fought to keep the drs open and the family farms are operating because of the decisions and efforts he madera and he is consistently, continuously fought for farmers and ranchers to get rural communities to g the people of kansas the right resources at the right time. i've had the challenge of following in politics iny life in both the hse and the senate and those humorous people pat roberts being one of the greatest challenge for both of us is bob dole.r how can you ever follow bob dole in any way and how can you
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compete with his sense of humor and parcularly his with? so, i asked senator dole what it is i might say on this floor to honor pat roberts and as usual, he took my responsibilitie away for me as i just read this. these are the words of bob dole. one of my first memories of pat is when he worked for the late great senator frank carlson. of course, that was well over 50 years ago when pat was just a younghild and i was well, maybe a teenager. pat has the best sons of humor of anyone in congress and i'm not sure how he acquired it but i know it serves them well today. pat, i honesy don't know what it's like to be retired but people tell me it's great. be forewarned though the rest of th world doesn't operate exactly like the senate. if anything goes wrong or breaks at home your trued chief of staff is not on speed dial to pu out the fires but plus there is noby to dial your calls for
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you anyway. put your alarm clock up for sale on ebay, someone might want to buy a beta clock once owned by a famous senator and two, you will to we up early ever again in your ever again unle you just want to go sit in the dc trafficor old times sa. you will have to brew your own coffee so go buy one of those space-age looking contraption or make friends with your local barista. you will have to share elevators with the rest of the world now so just stop looking for tt senators only sign. your grandkids are now your informationechnology department to so reward them accordingly or if you want or your computer to be used and up and running ask alexa. but in all seriousness you have earned time off f a job well done in congress over these past 40 years. kansas has benefed from your steadfast leadersp and you care about the sunflower state
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and care about our nation and that is always been whatti matts most. your strength o character, plainspoken optimism and determination to make a positive difference in people's lives, that is what people wil remember about your legacy of public service year. you are a great american in a dear friend and elizabeth and i wish you nothing but the best for you and frankie from here on out one important point of clarification though, the filibuster simplyoesn't work at home. god bless america, bob dole. i know thatll of us and kansans ve great regard for senator dole and also know that kansansnd all of us have great regard for pat roberts. my guess, knowing pat, is that his role model and the person he may admired the most isdm at kansan dwight eisenhower and in
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e book how i could lead, which pat all gave us a copy of i read that ike led with a sense of humor and is part of the arc of leadership getting along with people and getting things done and he also said the supreme quality for leadership is unquestiably integrity. , without it no real success is possible noo matter whether it s on ag, section gang, football field, in the army or in an office. pat roberts, i have no doubt thathat youave lived up to that role model, that kansan esteemed around the world and you have led like ike led. i thank you and you staff for all you have done for kansans and for america and i thank you for what y've done for me and our team. d your mom, you dad, your dad th you say got you started in
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this politics worldic and i knew your mom never m your dad and they would be so proudf you for the service that you completed and that you are completing this term. frankie and dav and ashley and leslie, thank you for support, engagement. it is not pat roberts but it is the family and they've all been gaged in this politics and public service day in and day out. rob and iish you and frankie absolutely the best. i asked kansas farme and told him what is doing into not asking for advice on what to say in this, his last comment, rancher from elkhart, he said, as a kansan i would want to know that my senator fought for my vaes in dc and that they did with the senator did everything to ensure are part of the world was a priority to
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the naon. to the rancher in elkhart, pat roberts did exact that a kansan who fought for our values at home in washington and did everything he could do to ensure that are part of the world is not forgten in this part of the world. pat, i guess you said thank you to kansans and said thank you to this senate and i think it is the time for me to say in retu return, on behalf of all kansans thank you for your service to our nation and to our state. a life being well lived, you are the example. thank you. >> mr. president. thank you, mr. president.: mr. president, i ris today to pay tribute to someone who has been more than a colleague, he
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has been more than just a frie friend. in fact, he is been a true partner here in the senate and that has paid huge dividends for farmers and families and communities across our country. senator pat roberts has been here in the senate for a long time and some might even call him an institution. in fact, at a recent ad committee cut event i joked as a young man he advised george washington on farmolicy. that might be a bit of an exaggeration but his legacy can hardly be overstated. he is left a lasting imprint on farm and food policy in this country. as has been said, the only person to have written a farm bill as both chair of the house and of the senate agriculture committee and those of us who have had an honor to working
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alongside pat in agriculture committee knows there is no other place i get. it is a place where i leave politics at the door and focus on ways we can improve people's lives and their livelihoods. we do that because we know it's not a red or blue issue but agriculture and food policy affect all of us, everyone and nobody knows that better than senator roberts. senator roberts and i have never given up on farm bills and we never gave up and passing the 2018 farm bill, even when it got tough. at the beginning of the negotiations we made a commitment to work together and we visited each other's home state and in fact, tracy visited and i arrived in the little apple of manhattan kansas wearing k state purple which on behalf and wearing today and a few weeks later pat came to
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frankenmuth, michigan and more and msu green tie. around this time we also made a write a bipartisan farm bill and throughout the entire process i never doubted that pat had my back and even when negotiations not passed and he knew i had his back as well. thanks to this part of this partnership we achieved the most bipartisan bill in history as he said, the first time around it was 86 votes and then the final bill was 87 votes. that was the most yes vote on a farm bill ever. we were able to do that because we have a unique partnership built on trustar and mutual respect. the outcome was a strong bipartisan bill to provide certainty or farmers from wheat farmers in kansas to cherry growers in michigan.
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part of that certainty is special crop insurance and nobody deserves more credit for the foundation f of that importt safety net then senator pat roberts. pat is also a champion of poor food security and agricultural export and agricultural research which is why he and night work together to establish a foundation for food and agriculture in 2014 farm bill. he also understands the importance of protecting food assistance for children and for families and i was honored to share the food research and action centers distinguished service award with senator roberts last year for our teamwork. above all, it has been an honor working with pat because he is truly one of a kind. from the moment i met him it became abundantly clear that he was notle the run-of-the-mill
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politician but some say of his unflappable nature others say it is his unique sense of humor. but to me, pat roberts is defined by his loyalty, his integrity and his dedication to the people of kansas. he started his career as a first lieutenant in the marine corps and it is clear he is carried that courage and conviction with him throughout his entire life. he w also, as you said, a newspaper reporter which made sense anything about his dogged determination and for better or worse his ability to be exceptionally cordial. as a public servant he is so beloved in his own state of kansas that he never lost an election, record 24-zero and if only his kansas state wildcats
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could be so lucky. senator pat roberts, it has been an honor to be your president. an even bigger honor to be your friend and so while your retirement is well-deserved you deeply missed in the agricultural committee and in the senate. thank you for all you've done for farmers and families and for the american people and i wish youis only continued happiness d success as you and frankie and the family moved to this next piece ofour li. i yld the floor, mr. psident president. >> senator from alabama. >> i ask unanimous consent first then my entire statement will be made part of the record here today. >> without objection. >> wister president, my seatmate here, pat roberts, will be missed, not just by the whole
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senate and not just by the nation and n just by the people in kansas but by a lot of us that kp us going day for day and hasor a long time. i first met pat roberts in 1979 and iad just been elected and 78 t the u.s. house of representatives ande was a chief of staff that has been said here today of a keithguished congressman sibelius who is well recnized and well respected on both sides of the aisle and he was his chief oftaff. i passed pat our paths crossed later will be served on the intelligence committee together and other committees and he is unique that we that wits of his and his humor is genetic. he is a daughter like that which is wonderful, i think. i told patne time i said, that
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must be an inherited characteristic. he smiled, he understood. but pat roberts is a lot more than just a little humor. he's a serious person and he has had, as you know, a distinguished reer, kansas state graduate, marine officer, staffer, congressman, chaired both committees of agony house and senate and 40 years of elected office house and senate. we will miss you, pat. i will ms you. i sat here with you and ie sat all over the senate with you and i tell you what, if you feeling down about something or feeling bleak that day, pat will look you straight in the eye and make you think this is not all bad that america is coming together again. it islways coming together. t, you had a great family and
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i'm here withou today. frankie has been unique for y and she has been a great influence on you. we will miss you. i will miss that humor every day. godspeed. thanyou. i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> senator from south dakota. >> thank you. i first met pat roberts when i was runningor the u.s. house of representatives for the very first time and i had a friend who worked for pat and he got me a meeting with him, which at the time was a pretty big deal because he was the chairman of the house at committee and i was in a republican primary where i was over 50 points behind. so the prospects weren't right that i was ever going to be somebody that would make it through and ended up serving there but nobody could have been more encouraging or kind.
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i had a great meeting with him and we talked about agriculture and i'm grateful that i've had the opportunity to get to know him pretty well here during my time in the senate. one of the reasons we have so much common ground is we both come from states where agriculture is incredibly important and it's the number one industry in south dota and i've had the privilege of serving on the aggie committee with pat now for more than a decade. i call him my chairman since he's been my my chairman at the aggie committee for so lg and he calls me coupe. it's a moniker he gav me very early in our acquaintance because he says i look like gary cooper. i have tory admit that the first time he called mehat i had to look up some pictures to see if that was a compliment or not but i know that he meant it that way. whenever he adduced met in the accommittee it was always coupe it is high at noon. high noon was a famous movie
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where gary cooper started with grace kellyanne of course, pat is a, i would say somebody who would be a vy accomplished and talking about movies from that era and stars from that era. he knows a little bit about everything and a lot about a few things but i called on my chairman because as i said he's been there for an awfully long time and never minds -- those stories and the nicknames that are quintessential pat. is just the way he conducts himself and somebody talked about his sense of humor here this morning and i think senator moran talked about jerry being or pat being the funny guy in the senates and he not been a funny guy but humorous guy. i would say he i a funny person. he is comedian by nature and keeps all of us entertained with his repertoire of country music lyrics an old movie quotes and just a storytelling flare.
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you can b sure that if you will be around pat for a long time you have a few belly laughs and i always tell him and i think you heard it today that when he gets up on the floor and speaks or when he speaks at a committee hearing that if you close your eyes you hear paul harvey and senator moran said he sounded like jack benny once in a while and maybe that's true to what what i always heard when i was growing up paul harvey was the voice on the radio pretty much every day in her house and i hear that same sort of midwestern resident and commonsensical voice whenever i hear pat get up and talk. i will tell you, mr. president, pat may hee a great sense of humor and he does keep us constantly smiling around here which is something we don't do near often enough, particularly these days but he's also very serious when it comes to getting things doneeo for the people o
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kansas and they cannot have a better advocate. that said, both pat and i come from states whose lifeblood is agriculture and pat roberts heart has always beat with the farmers of this country. his advocacy for american agriculture resulted in his of serving as chairman of both the house in the senate agricultural committees during his career and has already been noted that as the first member of congress in story, first in history, mr. president, to have served in both as bot the chairman of the house ad committee andhe senate tag committee. he islso the first member of congress toave written and passed aarm bill in both chambers. i think he's worked as a eight farm bills and all whichs an erincredible number. i'm proud to have worked with him on three farm bills in the senate including the 2018 farm bill which passed the senate with the greatest number of votes of any farm bill in senate history, attribute to the hard
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work that pat and his staff put in to building consensus and to reaching out to members from all across this country who represent different areas different commodities, different crops and bringing them together to write a farm bill. i've been around long enough and been associated with enough farm bills know that they tend to be controversial because some people represent cities that don't have agricultural constituencies so the fact that pat was successful in getting a farm bill across the finish line here in the senate with a record 87 votes is a remarkable compliment in and of itself. of course, pat's leadership has already been pointed out and has been not just limited to agriculture but among other things has served as chairman of the senate intelligence committee where he helped or i should say where he led a sweeping review of u.s. intelligence apparatus and advanced a number of reforms to shore up our intelligence international security. i know his work on biosciences, military issues, education,
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healcare and mr. president, the list goes on and on and on. pat has pbably represented the people of kansas in congress for 40 years, 16 and house of representatives in our 24 in the united states senat h it has already been mentioned as well, mr. psident, his public service began long before that with his time as an officer in the united states marine corps. once a marine, always a marine. pat has probably represented the marines here in congress. he is currently the mostr senior mana serving here on capitol hill. mr. president, the motto of the marine corps is simper fidelis, always faithful. pat has lived out the motto of his long career of service to our country. i hate to think of the senate without pat roberts. he will be sorely missed but is more than earned his retirement andhe chance to spend more time with his wife frankie and his children and his
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grandchildren. i know how much they have contributed to his success here, mr. president. there aren't any of us who care whopo don't have a supportive family, supportive spouses and we are truly grateful for the many contributions that frankie and his family have made to pass a competency or an success here in the senate and i know he's looking forward to spending more time with them in the future. pat, thank you for your leadership and for your friendship and may god bless you and yr retirement. i will miss you. mr. psident i yie the floor. >> senator from alaska. >> mr. president, i also rise to say farewell to a truly great senator, senator pat roberts who has been a friend and a mentor of mine and the u.s. senate and has been a leadero and there is
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no doubt we areearing it all about all his accomplishments, certainly one of the great state of kansas most accomplished senators ever. but i will say, mr. president, i would be remis to say if i did not mention he is also a great senator for another group of proud americans and that would be the united states marine corps. senator roberts has taken care of the u.s. marines during his entire tenure here and if the marines needed somethi they knew where to go. great senator from kansas. now, mr. president, as you kw most senors where there senate and here indicating that there a senator and proud to her that buthe years are known as senator roberts is probably
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doing it ain today but he either wears this pen or sometimes and usually he wears the eagle globe and anchor showing, i think he's got on one right now, showing where so much of his loyalty lies. y is with the united states marine corps. so, i know the marines are certainly going to miss senator roberts and i'm certainly going to miss senator roberts. you know, just like in his remarks today he is a man of great wit and great story a i have had the o honor to hear so many of the stories and a lot of the stories, of course for me, involve alaska in the late great senator ted stevens who was also a very close friend of pat's in the seat in which i am honored to hold here in the united stat senate. i learned so much fro these stories that i heard fm
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senator roberts. most important mr. president, he is been a great example for me in so many other senators. a statesman, marine, optimist, you heard it, in his or marks today we need more of that, a family man and dedicated husband for over 50 years to a beautiful wonderful wife and a leader in the senate, six chairmanships that gets things done for his estate and for his country and finall mr. president, a man of integrity, of integrity. you know, it's tough duty to be the chairman of the senate ethics committee but the senate ethics committee isuch needed here and to chair that committee for 24 years is a testament of every single senator here saying how much they believe in this man's integrity.
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mr. president, i was honored a couple of years ago when pat aske me to serve on the eisenhower memorial commission and a true honor for me and i will say i saw again one of the great qualities of senator roberts tenacity and on a rainy night a few months ago i sat at the dedication ceremony to president eisenhower and watched as america celebrated the great american and great kansan and there is one person who really made that a reality and senator pat roberts and today we say farewell to another great kansas and a great american my goo friend senator pat roberts thank you, sir for the example in mentorship and fendship and your great service


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