tv U.S. Senate Tributes to Sen. Jeff Flake CSPAN December 14, 2018 2:04am-2:21am EST
occupy these halls, including yours truly. so i start a new chapter in the coming weeks. i am grateful most of all for the privilege of having served with all of you here. it is my sincere hope that those in this body will always remember the words of lincoln, who said, we shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth. the way forward, he said, is, quote, plain, peaceful, generous , just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud and god will forever bless. i yield the floor. [applause] senate and with respt to the remarks that he just made. the senate has had some very
good people over the years and currently. but none have been more principled than my friend from arizona, jeff flake. it started for us to see when he was a member of the house of representatives and at first single-handedly fought inappropriate earmarks. he even managed to get himself appointed to the appropriations committee for a while so that he could carry on his crusade from within. and in the end he was successful. i was pleased to support him as my successor to the united states senate. he has his priorities right -- faith, family, and country. and he has spoken about both his faith and his family here. not very many of us have the opportunity to serve from a town named after our own family, and that's how far senator flake's
roots go back in the state of arizona. he has spoken not just today but on earlier occasions from his heart about things that he sees need improvement here in the united states senate. i think we're all aware of the things of which he spooks. -- he speaks. and it's been appropriate for him to do so. because, as he pointed out, in order for us to be a beacon to others around the world in support of liberty, individual freedom, we have to demonstrate how it can be practiced right here in the united states of america. we'd all like to leave this place better than we found it, and it's not easy to do. but senator flake has tried his best. he also spoke about our democratic republic and our focus on individual liberty and how that has had an impact around the world and how others have tried to emulate what we do
here. these are universal principles that we need to focus on, and what he has reminded us of here today is that freedom is not free. and each day we all have to do our part from wherever we sit to ensure that future generations will enjoy the kind of freedom we have, and that starts with our representatives in the united states government. it was a fitting subject for a farewell address and wise counsel was given, as always. i want to salute my colleague jeff flake as a person, though, as much as a public servant and senator. he embodies what's right about the people of the united states of america. as i said, he has his priorities right, and he's been willing to serve based upon those priorities. i wish him and his family all the best in their next endeavors, and i know because of his dedication to this country
and the principles in which he believes that his service does not end at the end of his time here in the united states senate. and we will all be beneficiaries of that. so, to my friend and colleague jeff flake, godspeed. i appreciate your remarks today and yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, i am proud to stand before you today to honor my dear friend and colleague, senator flake of arizona. and to pay tribute to his remarkable work here in the senate as this optimistic evangelist of democracy. i've been asked a fair amount in recent weeks about my close friendship with senator flake, whose political beliefs differ very widely from my own. yes, senator flake is a staunch conservative, and if you took a scorecard of the things on which we voted the same or believe the
same, there would not be a ton of overlap. but he's also a patriot. he's a patriot who deeply loves our country and is willing to work across the aisle to stand up for the values and principles that have made our nation the greatest on this earn. our friendship stems from a foundation in similar experiences and similar world views formed at the same time. we are almost exactly the same age. as you heard in his remarkable farewell address, time spent in namibia, zimbabwe and africa truly shaped him has a man. and at just about the same time, i was spending time in can inia and south africa, having very similar experiences. this period in our young lives shaped our sense that this democracy is special, is important, is worth fighting for, and requires greater sacrifice of us than might be obvious here in the comforts of
the united states. it's because of these shared experiences we urchth the -- understand the ways when our democracy is dysfunctional, when the world sees gridlock, especially today, especially on the continent we've both come to know and love in africa that there are competing models for how to organize a society that are rising in their visibility and their confrontation and their competition with our own. we know democracy matters. and believe we have to fight for it. we respect each other. we listen to each other. and over the years i've been blessed to have the chance for us to work together. at a time marked by division and partisanship, senator flake rightly recognizes that we need to get back to a point where compromise is rewarded rather than punished, when we work together to do what's right rather than what is just politically expedient. senator flake has spent his career doing just that, unafraid to stand up for what's right,
even when it's hard, even when it's inconvenient, even when it might go against president or party. he deeply respects our rule of law and has been willing to take risks for it. he's worked towards broad bipartisan immigration reform, stood up for the independence of the federal reserve. he's helped pass legislation to promote free and fair elections and political and economic reforms in zimbabwe where we have both traveled together twice as well as a dozen other countries. and he has come and stood on this floor time and time again to demand a vote on legislation, to protect the special counsel, and prevent an imminent constitutional crisis. he has taken risks and opened his heart in a way determined to help us come together rather than be torn apart and for that i am eternally grateful. whether meeting personally with world leaders or fighting for
the people of arizona here on the senate floor, advocating for new policies in committee, senator flake's courage and conviction has always been evident and his service as a senator stands as a model and a challenge for many of us in this chamber. i look back fondly on our six years serving together. i was chair of the africa subcommittee on foreign relations when he first arrived and he succeeded me in that role. that has given us opportunities to flee from elephants in mozambique and dine with dictators in in zimbabwe to advance democracy in a continent we've come to love. we've been to a dozen countries as we tried in a bipartisan way to advance american interests in places in the world. his leadership, his engagement, his deep respect and admiration for the people of africa will be sorely missed in this chamber and impossible to replace. for me personally, i will miss his humor, his friendship, his
kindness, and his leadership. i know him as a decent, ernest, -- earnest, kind man, a great husband and father who loves nothing more than his talented wife, cheryl, and his children, tanner and dallin, austin, alexis and ryan. he's also been blessed with a very talented staff who have worked tirelessly and been great partners in legislation and in service. my high view of his character comes, i will remind you, in this divided context despite differences in our states, in our backgrounds, divergent voting records and faith backgrounds but all of that is wrapped up in a shared commitment to eadvantage lies -- evangeli se for democracy. senator flake has exemplified how washington and this senate should work, particularly when it comes to respecting each other, holding true to our core values and principles and defending them here and around the world yet listening to each
other and being willing to trust each other. i only wish i had the blessing of senator flake's partnership in this chamber for six more years. but it gives me hope thinking of the impact he will undoubtedly have on our country and world in the years to come. i know he has so much more good left to do, and i look forward to supporting him in whatever path he chooses to accomplish that goal. i want to close with some words senator flake himself spoke on this floor more than a year ago in announcing his decision to retire rather than seek reelection. he said, and i quote, to have a healthy government we must have healthy and functioning parties. we must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity and good faith. we must argue our positions fervently and never be afraid to compromise. we must assume the best of our fellow man and always look for the good. until that day comes, we must be
unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it because it does. senator flake, thank you. thank you for being unafraid to speak out for what is right, what is true, and what is just, and to risk friendship with this junior senator from a much smaller state on the other side of the continent. thank you for your service and your friendship. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: mr. president, i'm pleased to be here this morning to join my colleagues in saluting the public service of our friend senator jeff flake. in his remarkable book "the conscience of a conservative ," senator jeff flake offered these words that applied to both sides of the aisle and across the political spectrum.
rather than constantly pursuing partisan advantage, he wrote, the better path always is to break out of rigid, ideological thinking, to listen to the reasoned arguments on both sides, and to use your best judgment. mr. president, reason and courage have defined senator flake's 18 years in congress, 12 in the house of representatives, and six here in the senate. throughout these years of service, he has always been knowledgeable, insightful, and dedicated to america and its values. it has been a privilege to work closely with him on many vital issues. senator flake has always been willing to take on the most
difficult challenges and offer constructive solutions as his work on immigration reform demonstrates. as my colleague from delaware has said, he is unafraid. he will take on any challenge no matter the consequences. as chairman of the senate aging committee, i've appreciated his commitment to the well-being, safety, and security of seniors across the nation and in his beloved home state of arizona. senator flake was especially helpful in our committee's examination of international criminal cartels that were using unsuspecting american seniors as drug mules to smuggle narcotics across international borders,
not realizing the cargo that they were carrying. senator flake has been an outstanding leader on the foreign relations committee as chairman of the subcommittee on africa and global health policy. his firsthand knowledge of issues from his early mission work in south africa and zimbabwe has helped to guide his efforts. i was proud to have been a cosponsor of a bill that he authored with senator coons to combat the wildlife trafficking crisis which became law in 2016. in fact, it was on a congressional trip that i first met my friend jeff flake, and i remember thinking he was so fascinated. he knew so many things of which i had very little knowledge.
he talked about his time in africa and i'll always remember -- and this will bring a smile to his lips as well -- when he told me that the words for describing it being very cold outside were the equivalent -- they sounded like buy a coat. and i'm sure that i've ruined the pronunciation but he's nodding fir affirmatively but ie always loved that and will remember that. when senator flake announced last year that he would not seek reelection, he offered these words on the senate floor. we must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity, and good faith. we must argue our positions
fervently and never be afraid to compromise. we must assume the best of our fellow man and always look for the good. i think it's significant that those words resonated both with the senator from delaware and with me. and i'm sure with many others. senator jeff flake always gave his best, and he always helped us find the good. i join my colleagues in wishing him, cheryl, and his family well and in expecting many more contributions from this leader of many gifts and determined principles. thank you, mr.