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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Claire Mc Caskill Farewell Speech  CSPAN  December 29, 2018 12:09am-12:23am EST

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original, full-length interviews with senators, view farewell speeches from a long serving members, and take a tour inside the senate chamber, the old senate chamber, and other exclusive locations. next, farewell speeches from three senators who are leaving congress. we hear first from missouri senator claire mccaskill, who lost her reelection bid. she is followed by arizona republican jeff flake being about his retirement, after that nevada republican dean heller says goodbye to his colleagues and it reflects on his time in congress. sen. mccaskill: it probably won't surprise my colleagues to know that i don't like much the idea of a farewell speech. farewell speech. i haven't spent a great deal of time contemplating it over the years i have been here. i'm not a big fan of the concept. but i want to respect the
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tradition, especially since i have witnessed so many senate traditions crumble over the last 12 years. so i will do my best to get through this without breaking up a traditional farewell speech in the united states senate is full of accomplishments and thanks. i'm going to skip half of that. i'm extremely proud of my body of work over 34 years of public service, but it is for others to judge, and i won't dwell on it today other than to say it is a long list and a tangible demonstration of the value of hard work. the wonderful barbara bush said, never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people, your family, your friends, and
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coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way. so rather than talk about what i've done, i want to speak a few moments about my family, and i have three different families i want to talk about today. my actual family, my family i like to call missouri, and my family here in the senate. first, my actual family because they are the most important. in the words of author andre moray, without a family, people -- i have been very warm. i have not trembled in the cold because i always had my family.
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my parents taught me that caring about the community around us was noble and good and that holding public office was an honorable endeavor, even though my parents were largely spectators and supporters and not candidates or officeholders. they just cared and they wanted me to care too. and at the risk of going down too many family stories, it may explain a lot that my mother -- my dad fell in love with my mom when he saw her smoking a cigar and belting out "won't you come home bill bailey" at a party, and that my mother said i must say trick or treat and vote for j.f.k. when i was seven. and my father insisted that i not only learn the rules of football but that i also learn to tell a good joke and to learn to laugh at myself.
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my siblings -- my two sisters, my brother, they simply have been the port in every storm. my children, we have a large blended family of many children and grandchildren that is close and loving. i adore them all, but i need to specifically mention my three children, austin, nattie and lily. they were there from the beginning. toddlers sometimes sitting no so quietly when i gave a speech and amazing troopers in the almost decade of my career when i was a single working mom, hauling them all over the state on campaigns. they now have forgiven me for
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the missed field trips and the fact that i couldn't be the home room mom. today they have grown into amazing, strong adults who make me very proud. and yee-howdy, those grandchildren. i have 11, going on 12. i can't wait until they are all old enough to yell at them what my mom said to us when we were too slow getting to the car, last one in is a republican. and my husband joseph. how lucky i am to have him as my best friend. we were married 16 years ago after i was well into my political career and after he had achieved great success in business. he is proud and supportive of me always, but he certainly didn't bargain for the incredibly unfair treatment we got at his
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expense because of his business success. let the record of the senate now say what my republican colleagues did not during my campaigns. thank you, joseph, for your integrity, your honesty, your generosity, and your heart which has always directed you to do good as you do well. and then there's missouri moi family. i -- missouri moi family. i love my state. all of it. every corner of it. even the parts that aren't crazy about me. my honor to work for missourians has been immense, and i'm incredibly grateful to them for the opportunity i've had to get up every day and work my heart out in an interesting and challenging career of public service and so lucky to have made many, many good friends along the way. i'm excited that i will now have
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more time to them. david steer says family means no one gets left behind or forgotten, and that's how i feel about missouri. that's why my office has tried very hard to help everyone who has come to us for help, every veteran, every senior citizen caught in red tape no matter where they lived or who they were or what their politics were. and my staff family. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that my staff's name be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. mccaskill: my staff here and in my previous jobs and many, many campaigns, richard box said it best, the bond that links your true family is not one of blood but of respect and joy in each other's life. they have been my rock, my come
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pass, -- compass, my inspiration and my coach. the best and the brightest, looking not for money or fame but just to make a difference. to my senate staff here today and watching and all the staffs of my offices of the prosecutors office, the auditors office, the county legislature, state legislature, i respect each of you immensely. as you go forth in the world, remember the mccaskill office motto. they could cite it for you right now if you asked them. if you work hard, you can do well, but if you're having fun, you will do great. we were happy and it made a difference.
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george bernard shaw said a happy family is but an earlier heaven. working with my staff was heaven. and, finally, to all of my fellow senators and all the many people who work here in the senate. i'd be lying if i didn't say i was worried about this place. it just doesn't work as well as well as it used to. the senate has been so enjoyable for me, but i must admit it puts the fun in dysfunction. peter morgan, an author said, no family is complete without an embarrassing uncle. we have too many embarrassing uncles in the united states senate, lots of embarrassing stuff. the united states senate is no longer the world's greatest
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deliberative body and everybody needs to quit saying it. until we recover from this period of polarization and the fear of the political consequences of tough votes. writing legislation behind closed doors, giant omnibus bills that most don't know what's in them, k street lobbyists knowing about the tax bill managers' package before even senators, that's today's senate and no amendments. solving the toughest problems will not happen without making the tough votes. we can argue -- argue about them and campaign on them, but we're not going to solve them without tough votes. it will not happen. my first year in the senate was 2007. we voted on 306 amendments in 2007. this year, as of yesterday, we voted on 36.
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that's a remarkable difference. something is broken and if we don't have the strength to look in the mirror and fix it, the american people are going to grow more and more cynical and they might do something crazy like elect a reality tv star president. i'm not kidding. that's one of the reasons this has happened. power has been dangerously centralized in the senate. we like to say, oh, we can't change the rules, just like the house. we're kind of are just like the house. a few people are writing legislation, a few people are making decision. we have to throw off the shackles of careful, open the doors of debate, reclaim the power of members in committee, and most of all, realize that looking the other way and hoping
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that everything will work out later is a foolish idea. and for gosh sake, debate and vote on amendments. but with all the problems i outlined, know i love this place and you -- almost all of you. you have filled my life with interesting work and unforgettable memories. we have argued, we have sang, we have fought, we have cried, and we have laughed together just like family. you are family. and i will miss you terribly. desmond tutu, a very wise man, said god's dream is that you and i, and all of us, will realize that we are family. that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and
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for compassion. thank you very much. i yield the floor. mr. flake: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. flake: mr. president, i would like to begin today by noting that had the people of arizona and america been truly lucky, my mother or father would have served in the united states house of representatives and then in the senate. everything i know about what matters most in life i learned first at their dinner table, but for many reasons they were otherwise preoccupied raising and feeding 11 children, working the land, running cattle to keep the f-bar business going.


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