tv U.S. Senate Sen. Pat Roberts R-KS Farewell Speech CSPAN December 13, 2020 4:31pm-4:56pm EST
wes roberts, who was a newspaper man and soon journalism led to politics. he served as chief of staff and advisor for several kansas governors, becoming the state republican chairman. dad was asked to head up the citizens campaign, which was a genuine army of volunteers made up of legions of utterance, women's groups and mostly republicans who wanted a candidate who could win. plus, they really liked ike. toe, i was aad's sergeant of arms in the 1952 convention. back when conventions chose the nominee for president. i remember two lasting experiences. the renowned senator from leader in the key
bob taft campaign. known for his long eloquent theches would -- was in midst of his remarks when the entire new york delegation led in and with marched considerable noise, they took their seats. dirksen paused. andting directly at dewey, with his booming voice said have led thisah, party down to defeat in 1944 and again in 1948. do not do it again. whereupon, the entire new york delegation that up and gave him the raspberry. and i thought, this is what
adults do in convention? one morning i was at a meeting with my dad at the top like campaign brass. he told me to sit and be quiet. he was in the midst of suggesting the fairplay amendment given that the new delegates from the solid south had surprised the old guard and one delegates seized at the convention only to be replaced by the old guard at later surprise conventions. unlike macarthur, guards never die or fade away. my dad said there was no downside if they lost and he believed they could win a majority of delegates and the fairplay amendment passed. like won.
i thought to myself, my dad actually helped i could win. i met the general. i shook his hand. and then again at the inaugural ceremony or my dad became the inaugural chairman. it was these reflections told to my great friend and medal of honor recipient that prompted him to say, pat, i fought for ike. you met him. it is up to you to get this memorial done. effort, we did that with the help from bob dole, jim baker, the eisenhower family and senator lisa murkowski. who kept the commission going through these tough years. finally, we have an appropriate if not stunning memorial to the kansan who saved western democracy in world war ii and let america onto the world stage. with the final dedication of the
memorial at the end of my career, it is a full family circle accomplishment. ike, the helped elect least i could do was to lead the effort to make a memorial on the mall to a great president a reality. in the homecoming address, eisenhower said the proudest thing i can say is that i am from abilene. he was a small count -- a small-town kansas boy who led the nation for eight years with peace and prosperity. i come from a small town in kansas. how did this boy from holton, kansas become the longest serving member of congress in kansas history? like father, like son. i graduated from k state with a degree in journalism. my father joined the marines and a world war ii and saw action in okinawa and iwo jima. i was joined in priest time -- served onme and
okinawa and was part of the first contingent to return to iwo jima on the 15th anniversary of the battle. newspapere cap tinto editor and news director of a radio station in arizona, i dropped everything and drove to washington when senator frank house and asked me to come and work for him. within weeks of leaving phoenix, i with the -- i was the chief of staff for a senator who made his mark on kansas history as the only person to serve our state as congressman, governor, thetor, u.n. delegate and founder of the national prayer breakfast. life changed dramatically at that time. i always thought a bachelor was someone who did not make the same mistake once. tall,nto my life, came a
blonde, blue-eyed magnolia blossom from south carolina. frankie and i have been married for 51 years and have been blessed with three children and eight grandchildren. i am who i am because frankie is my wife and we are parents to , pop-upshley and wesley , miles,lily, charlie oliver and graham. my family. -- my family is my crowning achievement. senator frank was a great mentor. he always said there are no self-made men or women in public office. it is your friends and family who make you what you are and he taught me a great lesson. your true friends stand behind you when you're taking the bows and beside you when there are any boos. following the two year stint, i was privileged to work 12 years
for the new life in congressman from the big first district as his chief of staff. sibelius was a wonderful man. a leader on the house agriculture committee and the interior committee, especially with regard to improvement and restoration of our national parks. upon his retirement, a group of stalwarts encouraged me to run. i thought about it, talk to frankie and frankie simply said, while this is what you always wanted to do. let's do it. so for nine months with no paycheck or health insurance and limited savings, with three young children, dodge city became our home. most sane candidates would not attempt to go door-to-door in district larger than most states. however, with a lot of help, we won a tough primary and a not so tough general election. the first of 24 straight victories.
was ranking on the -- suddenly, i was chairman. we achieved a major foreign policy reform, changing 40 years of farm bill policy. to this day, farmers still have the freedom to farm what they want. andve had the honor privilege of representing kansas for 16 years in the house and 24 in the senate. the pat roberts of 1980 was fighting for kansas values and for the issues that affected the daily lives and pocketbooks of all kansans. of 1996, iroberts promised that if elected to the senate, when kansas spoke, washington would listen. i have held six devils in the house -- six gavils in the house and senate.
it is what happened during my 10 years as chairman that i believe i have had the most lasting effects. gavel.ot just having the it is what you do with it. taking part in leading eight farm bill's in the house and senate, i have improved many lives and i have been mindful of what farm families have done for our nation. i was fortunate that my first committee assignments were to serve on the armed services committee as well as agriculture. chairmanas the senior who as the country song goes, never even called me by my name. i was recognized as quote, the senator who had the good sense to marry a fine, beautiful south carolina girl. my role on the committee was simple. it was to collect the small
change left by the air force to enable the marine corps to be our nation's fours and readiness. i also had the privilege of being the senate intelligence committee for four years during the iraq war and led the investigation that exposed a worldwide intelligence failure. it resulted in a blueprint for the 9/11 commission and a better intelligence committee that did keep our country safer. as chairman of the brand-new emerging threats subcommittee within the armed forces committee, i traveled to cities within what remained the former soviet union. one of the secret cities, we discovered a lab that had discovered strains of pathogens that could do irreparable harm to our nation's food supply. talk about an evil empire. i cautioned my colleagues, that threat still exists. even as we endeavor to continue
the worldwide fight against covid-19. it has taken over 20 years to respond to this threat with a biological containment and research lab. into a lifetime of work the national bio and agriculture defense facility. minute.r a home of kansas state university. serve as the first line of defense to prepacked -- to protect american agriculture and the world's food supply. i've been privileged to serve on the health committee. thank you to lamar alexander and to patty murray for supporting my amendments especially with regards to world health care. finally, i have chaired the senate ethics committee for 24
years. i have tried to resign twice. i do not know what i have done wrong. but i have been a member of that committee for what i'm sure is a record 24 years. i think they just want somebody there to say wait a minute, 15 years ago, we tried that and it did not work. maybe we ought to start over. as a move out of my office, formerly a museum of pictures, awards and stuff we all collect, all that remains are the barren walls full of memories and stories, all of which are classified. however, i still have my marine corps bumper sticker. is human. divine.is neither is marine corps policy. marines never give up. we take the hill.
the discipline i learned never failed me in my toughest battles in the senate. semper fi. office, a framed statement with the advice of lbj. sometimes, you just have to hunker down like a jackass in a hailstorm and just take it. if you want to avoid a hailstone, get a good staff. you are only as good as your staff. and i have the best staff in washington. i know everybody thinks that but i really do. because they always took the hill. , my d.c. of staff staff and myof , they led thes policy. and they always check to make sure the herd was still there.
and we did not ride into any box canyons. to the staff currently in this chamber with me and those watching on c-span, thank you. it has been an absolute privilege and an honor to have you call me boss. always remember you are a family. i could not have asked for a more loyal or dedicated or talented staff. to be a member of this united states senate is a true privilege. a working family, it is the greatest deliberative body in the world. today as compared to when i first came to the senate, it is liberty part that gives me great concern. i regret the loss of comedy. the ability to work together or just to get along. sadly, gridlock appears to be the new normal. however, it does not have to be this way. i am very proud i have had the privilege of being the chairman of a committee that does get
along and we do get things done. the senate agriculture committee. it is really not that hard. first, we represent the best of our nation. farmers, ranchers, and the entire food value chain. we know we have a collective job to do on their behalf. and you do just that. small, we convene in hearing room in pre-covid times what across the table from each other. third, for the most part, we actually know what another. i used to be the wrecking republican when senator stabenow was the chairperson. we worked together on the 214 farm bill. this was not our first rodeo. we knew regardless of what each of us wanted, passing a farm bill was paramount. we had an agreement. no surprises. we held hearings together all over the country.
i went to the campus of michigan state and more green and white. deborah came to kansas state and were purple. purple.ore we also became friends. i protected her. she protected me. we got 87 votes, setting a record for a farm bill. standing right there now where our leader is now sitting. i was trying for 90. he said what do you want? i said i want justice. he said no, you want blood. ordinarily, we do not vote alike. senator stabenow and myself, but we remain friends. and that is the way it should be. friendship and comedy is the norm for the tag committee. committee. although things in this great
country are rocky, i have a newsflash. these are not the worst of times. when i first came to washington in the art -- in early 1967, our ofion experienced a tragedy the assassination of dr. martin luther king. within hours, washington was on fire. the rains on the capitol steps with sandbags, automatic weapons with live ammunition. advised to leave the beltway, i thought i could get to my parents apartment house. this was before frankie. to take the rock creek park way. no traffic was moving. tear gas in the air shared random gunshots. i decided to jump the curb and drive on the sidewalks and eventually on the mall itself. i was in a little volkswagen. the police told me the parkway was closed when they focused on the next drivers, i jumped on the curb and took off on the parkway. as bad as that time was, it was
not as bad as the military march on thousands on world war i veterans demonstrating on the mall and setting up camp in the mid-1930's and demanding bonuses. president hoover ordered them removed by the military. led by none other than douglas tank,hur, complete with a horse cavalry with swords and armed troops. the bonus veterans were quickly dispersed and rounded up. the 1968 chicago riots. kent state, the horrible shooting of students by untrained guardsmen. senator bobby kennedy running for president only to suffer the same fate as his brother. watergate.me those days were tough. it was almost impossible not to face the better splits over our political parties and even families. so today, we are in the midst of
a worldwide pandemic and even that has fallen into politics. but it does not have to be. at home, kansas has been dealt its fair share of hardships but letansas, we do not disasters define us. we grab our buds -- our bootstraps and get to work. that is the normal. jerry will remove or multiple prairie fires that ravaged farms and ranches in cancers. the undersea crake fire -- the anderson creek fire in 2016. these flames are 60 feet high and moving 60 miles per hour. those folks have learned to adapt and build back with the help of usda disaster programs. once a boomtown turned toxic waste dump. it was an extremely unsafe and unhealthy place for folks to live. we worked with the obama administration and the epa.
we relocated them to safer places and greener pastures. working across party lines is what we do in kansas. the ef tornadot in 2007 that wiped out the community of greensburg, kansas. i immediately called president bush, he was at camp david, and i tog -- and i called from a mcdonald's in the next town and asked for help shared and i hung up, there were 25 people gathered around a listening. me, wastimer said to that the president of the united states? i said, you bet. he turned to his wife and said mother, i told you. i told you pat was talking to the president. fema was there the next day. in a fema issued tent, i talked to the graduating senior class whose school and homes were a
pile of debris. i told them you are the class of hope and destiny. the following year, president george w. bush spoke at -- andion chain this graduation. the size of that audience matched the size of hope that kansans had for their future and the rebuilding of their lives. i am reminded of the optimism of those speeches and the optimism i have for our country. we endure these hardships. we came out the other side. we did it by changing the old normal and creating a new normal. senate, only we can decide what our new normal is and we ought to get to know one another. we do not know one another. we do not have to let the apparent gravitational pull of more and more politics in pursuit of power to change what our founders gave us, the creation of the nation of
liberty and freedom, the envy of the world and to literally move the united states senate from the moorings of historic past to be a rubber for radical change. the beauty is we can decide what our normal is. we do not have to let circumstances dictate our future. let us once again pick up a body of -- let us once again become a body of respect, humility, cooperation, achievement and yes, friendship. that can and should be our new normal. the entire country could lose -- could use a little bit of what we say in kansas. stars, to difficulty. as my time in the senate draws to a close, i have done my best to improve the lives of kansans and all-americans. decades, to accomplish big and small things so this generation and future
generations might live and achieve the american dream. to kansas, i say a humble thank you. thank you for the privilege of representing you in this great body. to my colleagues, thank you for fighting on behalf of our great nation and alongside me to preserve this chamber. it has been such a privilege. as i write off into the sun -- sunset,e off onto this i will be cheering for the senate to rebuild the bridges of comedy that will create a new normal. my colleagues, my time is up. thank you for yours. i yield the floor. >> government explant -- government funding expires at midnight on friday. congress continues to hammer out a long-term agreement that will include some form of covid relief. heading into the week, house members have been advised there
will be no floor votes until a deal is reached on government funding and coronavirus aid. they meet monday for a pro forma session. the senate is back at 3:00 p.m. to continue work on judicial nominations well negotiations continue on a spending package. c-spanhe senate live on two in the house on c-span. washington governor jay inslee gave an update on the distribution of the pfizer covid-19 vaccine, which began shipping around the country earlier today. >> good morning, i am very happy to be delivering hopeful news and great news this morning for the state of washington. i am joyous to be able to say that the federal government has authorized the use of the covid-19 vaccine. i am thrilled that washington state has done our review and we are authorizing the