tv U.S. Senate Tributes to Retiring Sen. Bob Corker CSPAN December 6, 2018 8:38pm-9:14pm EST
after serving two terms in the u.s. senate corker is retiring. . >> this is that time in congress o when inevitably some members move on to something else and leave this body i want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to another distinguished member of the senate who is leaving us at the end of this year. senator bob corker. one of the most hard-working and relentless members of this body. he is a builder by trade. and a fixer by nature.
senator corker is always a man on a mission. our distinguished colleague hails from a seat - - a state with a long history of senators baker, bill frist in our colleague lamar alexander. all developed national leaders. but after 12 years of working with bob, i could not feel more comfortable to say he himself will now become a part of that great tennessee legacy he has met that high bar nor could any senator turn without initiative. some dead and negotiations or a phony national problem you would see him dive into the fray and attack the problem with everything hee had.
the limitless work ethic, the entrepreneurial drive. these things have defined bob corker since before he was sworn in as a senator. started working odd jobs at age 13. at 25 he had enough money to cofound his own construction company in 25 years old and try for himself moving from an 8000-dollar lark into a major operation that is in the more than one dozen states he was a natural. constantly sniffing out opportunities and attacking them with vigor along the way he picked up the joke as an addiction to the feeling of a closing handshake.
the sign that a deal is done in both parties walk away happy. the term workaholic might be putting it mildly. i'm told after one particularly harrowing negotiation bob explained - - exclaimed a, i would sell it back to him if i could turn it around and buy it again. unlike many of his colleagues hece does not necessarily always aspired to public service. in fact, it took - - took a direct appeal to his builder's instincts to set the political career in motion. he saw a message in a church bulletin that anyonee with volunteer construction experience to help in haiti he went along with his father and came back with the drive to keep doing real good for real
people. that conviction eventually took him to city hall in chattanooga where people still talk about the transformative wave of education reform economic development and public improvements that was unleashed during his time as mayor. tennesseans like what they sa saw, they decided the next chapter should be written right here in the united states senate. i even tried to have a catalog of everything he has done or accomplished here in the senate this speech would be the last active business before new year's. but here are some highlights. early in senator corker's first term when the financial crisis through our economy into chaos.
but this fired up freshmen immediately started to work with committee chairs and new friends across the. aisle and was a pivotal player to put in private sector acumen to help craft policies to begin restoringg stability. he has been a leading voice on housing reform. and the culmination of his background has led to some unique accomplishments he has been hard at work to overhaul how america makes loans for new projects in the developing world. he is also a key champion of the electrify africa bill for a more stables power grid. also there are other ways he
remains a competent businessman tennesseans know many of the things he has achieved for his home state as a former mayor he has continued with every new job in investment insight by his home state. phone call by phone call and meeting by meeting. so as we prepare to say goodbye to one of the most energetic and accomplished members with the enthusiasm and expertise we will also miss his famous generosity and the great kindness everyone jumps at the chance. he is thoughtful to those he knows well and those he just met i heard on good authority he had a promising network in a checkout line and signed him
up on the spot for a job interview. most recently we know him as the brilliant chairman of the foreign relations committee. he has traveledy, constantly come engage in issues around the world with an enormous degree of skill and capacity. a powerful voice for american interests. and those of our allies and a forceful and influential thorn in the side of those who might wish us harm. is also use that position to champion people around the world to spearhead the end of modern slavery initiative act bringing resources and attention on humanitarian crisis this will be a core piece of that legacy. he prides himself to bring order back to the committee and getting back to basics with legislation and treaties and under his leadership to
pass the first bill for the state department in 14 years. that work ethic is on full display when he travels the world on our nation's behalf. i hear that when he was leading a trip to israel and palestine a few years ago he heard about smuggling tunnels between gaza and went to go see themse himself. so the way i heard it he arranged for ground transportation to gaza and examined the system and was back in tel aviv later that day to discuss the situation with prime minister netanyahu.
and we are excited to see with his hugely accomplished individual can get into next and what is next in the queue. i have heard his name is in the hat fortu opportunity but is the chance to spend a lot more time with his family i am sure elizabeth and the family will oblige with a smooth confirmation process. i have to admit whatever comes next i really doubt we can call it a retirement in any ordinary sense of the word. i heard what happens when bob corker tries to relax. apparently one summer when he endeavored to take up waterskiing. lazy days, soaking in the sunshine. very long helast went all in and practiced all summer and then he was
masterful but exhausted and once the challenge was gone , he was off to the next thing or off to the next deal or the next construction project. the great state of tennessee we will measure service but we simply cannot wait to see what you do next. . >> i asked to speak as if morning business. >> let me begin with where the majority leader stopped. it is a true story about the tunnels. senator corker was curious about smuggling surprise at one - - supplies into egypt
others might have asked somebody but not bob corker. he hailed a jeep, drove to the border and inspected the tunnels took photographshs, and as the majority leader said, when he met with benjamin netanyahu that afternoon he showed him the photographs. netanyahu was startled. he may have been surprised by bob corker's conduct that none of us who knew bob corker were surprised. he is always a man on a mission with little regard for the obstacles in the way. 1978 at age 25 he saved $6000 and started a construction company.
a friend of mine worked for him in my hometown as he built a shopping center and one county he said i always knew that corker would amount to somethin something. after his experience in hait haiti, he also began to apply his skills to help find decent homes for people in chattanooga. i met bob corker 25 years ago in 1993. his roommate at the university of tennessee called me to say he had a friend who is thinking about public service and wondered if i would talk to him. today he is the owner of the cleveland browns when they first knew each other i believe they spent a lot of the time on the roof of the fraternity house drinking beer
but nevertheless, bob corker and i walked up and down the on head forlton nearly an hour and a half and in his typical bob corker way he would weigh all sides of the issue. to run for the senate? governor of tennessee which might be better suited to somebody with his executive background. he ran for the senate in 1994 which would be a good year with the republican to do that but he was defeated by bill frist the doctor never before involved inn politics so who are these two rookies running against each other in aki primary he spent more of his money to beat him and then to serve as majority leader of the united stateser senate but that did not slow bob down but ten minutes.
so then the governor advised him to become the ceo of the state here we saw the first indications of diplomacy that we now see today in his work around the world he began to work with the democratic mayors of nashville that was just defeated in the g governor's race and then they brought the titans to nashville in tennessee which by the way play the jaguars tonight. [laughter] bob earned so much respect from the democratic legislature they tried to persuade him to run for governor as a democrat. he said no and return to chattanooga jumping back into business then he became involved and then became the mayor of chattanooga. he would be the first to tell you that chattanooga was already on a roll.
a lot of people had a lot to do with it success. but everybody else will tell you that he was the best and fastest runner to have on the relay teamof the because it was already beginning to happen and then to put it into high gear to lay the groundwork eventually what attracted volkswagen to put its north american manufacturing plant there and to have the country generally regard chattanoogaan as one of the most desirable midsize cities inhe america. he was enormously successful as a mayor and in 2006 the man who defeated him in the senate race 12 years earlier decided to retire from the senate and bill frist persuaded corker to run for his seat that was a tough year forwa republicans and it was a difficult race the closest race in our state's
history of the senate and bob almost lost it but he did something that almost no one would do. six weeks before the election he knew he was about to lose that he completely change what he was doing he change the head quarters to nashvillem. he got a new team and told the story of who bob corker really is so then we began to learn about his interest inai haiti and the homes that he helped to find in chattanooga and then to restore that city people like that he was elected and had the privilege to be there present secretary and treasurer of the freshman republican senate sworn in 2007 he is the only one.
when he first came here the truth is at first he was bouncing off the walls he was a lot like many executives who come to the body and find it a very unusual place to be and work. that didn't last very long. as the majority leader said he jumped in right awaywa. without repeating all of those things the financial crisis, the auto industry i think he learned as much about general motors as the board of directors he was not afraid to talk to the managers or the union about what needed to be done. he became really focused on the federal debt of this country to see it as our biggest challenge i don't think anyone in this body had been more consistent to look at the real problem but the only problem he and i are the only two cosponsors of that bill so that probably still
have to work on it. he thought about not running for a second term and was discouraged about how the placelr worked but he already accomplished so much he decided to do it so he continued he was up early reading everything he could get his hands on calling everybody he could think of traveling to so many countries worrying about issues always trying to do it in a bipartisan way because he understood that you get results he ordered the hmajority or voted with them 85 percent of the time but in 2015 he was chairman of the foreign relations committee and began to deal with those issues of senator mcconnell -like sex trafficking.
with a team of h.w. bush and what he was accomplishing form policy is one of the 100 most influential leaders reading at the border of gaza. if he is notid president himself he is an obvious choice for secretary of state to the treasury which is exactly what happenedpp when president trump was running in 2016 and for secretary of state and recently for ambassador to australia. and of course, all this time senator corker has
demonstrated to president trump and was not afraid to challenge. this produced remarks president trump and senator corker that is just the way that developers and contractors talk to each other. i know both men well enough with these years that senators from the same state from the same party don't always get along well with each other this is the body where
relationships mattered. corker and i followed the rule of howardt baker and robert byrd. i will not surprise you if you don't surprise me. not only did we not surprise each other we looked out for each other and we respected each other's work so they work the same way and i'm convinced were the beneficiary of that because when they approach the staff for either one of us they found out one plus one equals three and the people for whom we work are the beneficiaries. but if bob corker would serve into the united states senate until he was 100 years old but
i am looking forward to working with marsha blackburn who is corker's successor and i have todm admit with peyton manning. he has done is united states center whatever one - - senator whatever he tennessee in hopes a senator would do. he has gotten up early determined to find some way to make the country a little better. . . . .
madam president, i'mto honored to have opportunity to join my colleagues and rising today to speak in tribute to my friend, senator bob corker and in recognition of his remarkable service to the nation here in the senate. senator corker and his staff have led to a legacy of tireless energy and engagement and productivity and i'm thrilled to have a few minutes to follow on the comments of the majority leader and senator from his home state of tennessee. when i first came here as a freshman in 2010, i partnered
with senator joe manchin elected at the same time i was and we decided the first thing we had to do was go to afghanistan to see our troops in harms way. having never been a senator before i have no idea how one goes about going to afghanistan if he assured me he had it under control and it would be just fine. a few weeks later i ended up on an airplane with senators i never heard of, bernie sanders and bob corker. maybe i heard of them but i never met them and knew very little about them and as we all got engaged in this weekend's to pakistan, afghanistan i learned more and more about bob corker. you just heard it but i will repeat it. determined to get things done, a builder whoan reaches across the iowa extends his hand and doesn't remind until there is a deal done.
chairman corker unleashed on the president of afghanistan with a focused communication i will not soont forget. he was engaged andnd purposeful with the leaders of afghanistan and in every single meeting we had in afghanistan and the follow-on in jordan and israel he was a blizzard of activity with purpose.
a lot in common is an attitude of wanting to get llings done. senator corker was someone who i could get things done. to always be committed to his home state of tennessee i want to say thank you to his wife and to his daughters. his family including his grandchildren who supported him inrs this service. his ears have left a lasting legacy that's only possible because he has a family that loved and supported him as he's traveled relentlessly around the world and worked to try to tackle over budget issues. as an entrepreneur he generated a balance sheet and knows that
ours is out of whack. he was relentless and headed towards a reckoning. income for the tragic realities of the world must move ten the open his eyes to the profound need for housing in the world to see the tragedy of young women ensnared that profoundly touched and moved him int him and it iss combination of a relentless oil, great intellect and huge part that made senator chairman corker such a successful leader. meeting with world leaders
fighting to solve i issues or chairing the foreign relations committee there is a universal agreement about his passion and charactergr and integrity. i asked for a review of the bill we worked on and it's longer than the time i have so let me give a few highlights because the things that bears repeating is that in a deeply divided often partisanwh congres where too few members are willing to work across the aisle might work on legislation with the chairman has led to the things i can say with any confidence that made a difference in my eight years here. we worked together to reauthorize pepfar. this is senator corker's
leadership and a critical step in fighting around the world today. we worked to pass the food security program and worked tirelessly to continue to make more and focus. promote safe clean drinking water for people around the world signed into law and a bill of time where the staff is particularly engaged to deploy $60 million of private capital around the world at no cost to taxpayers in a way that meets the challenges we face from china and allows us to step up the skills and strength of private sector to help meet the needs of the growing world.
it's implemented this coming year and will be something i look forward to doing making sure the act is carried forth this coming congress. asked me on short notice if i felt we shouldn'tro go to thei fastest growing camp in the world in uganda with more than a quarter million people living after fleeing war-torn south sudan. i planned a quiet weekend at home this year and she said there's no better place on earth you can beat him with bob corker. we've been impressed to his commitment to making a thatrence in the world and impact spending the weekend not in the comfort or quiet of our own homes but with people that
just fled provide a measure of comfort and confidence that have insight into how we are helping the world will affect the rest of my service in my life had a remarkable time serving together. chairman corker has shown us how members of the bodyhi should ac. we have differences. he's a conservative republican and comes to things with different principles but he has been relentless at finding solutions to the problems that face us will not be solved without leaders like chairman corker. it's my honor to have the opportunity to work with him. i know the business in this short lame-duck i'm eager to see
while that my constituents are very angry at the democratic party for not standing up for certain things and for the way that he has governed and is a shorthanded way to say it. he just won an overwhelming victorievictory so the partisans not it. it's how we did it. you are in mr. smith goes to washington, aren't you? i had to say i played on that when i ran for congress.
more than that, we decided it might be an interesting idea to try to auction off a poster of the movie sent mr. smith to washington and he autographed a poster for me which we auctioned off at the fundraiser in san antonio and i had a friend to pay a thousanpay athousand dollr he has the poster at the house today about his priorities as
the chair of the senate armed services committee. he also shared his thoughts on the u.s. defense strategy and how it compares to other countries like china and russia. this is one hour and 15 minutes. >> i'm going to ask you to do something very special. i'm going to ask you to pray with me. we and the frerl