tv U.S. Senate Sen. Dean Heller Farewell Speech CSPAN December 28, 2018 9:06pm-9:34pm EST
god will forever bless. i yield the floor. [applause] sen. heller: madam president, i rise with gratitude to address my colleagues and members of my staff enter effect on one of my life's greatest honors. that is serving the people of the great city of nevada. i would like to begin by thanking them for giving me the profound honor of representing the state in the united states congress for 12 years. and then in the united states senate for almost eight years. nevada, thank you for granting me the privilege of working every day for a state that i am so proud to call my home.
of course, like to thank my immediate family. especially my wife, for being on my side. for nearly 30 years of public service. to my children, hilary, harris, drew. to their spouses, thank you for your patience. your understanding and your tolerance of this process. i would be remiss if i did not think my parents jack and janet heller. setting the right example and religious tone in our home growing up. to my father-in-law, richard, all of my wife's family, thank you for raising such a wonderful daughter. a sister, cousin and aunt. madam president, i have five brothers sisters -- ancestors. they all played a vital role in my upbringing. so thank you to jack, tammy, sarah, match and brian. all of these individuals i mentioned gave me their steadfast support. in my journey from nevada legislature to the secretary of states office, to the united states house of representatives and to the united states senate
, i can count on him every step of the way. we all know how important our staff is and i'm no exception. i've been fortunate to have two staff members with me my whole tenure in congress. i would like to highlight both of the my chief of staff, is from north carolina. i know more about north carolina than i ever thought i would. he came to me from another senator's office. about12 years, we mused writing a book together because we have seen and been through a lot. from the great recession impact on nevada, the visit from senator reid to my house office. the governor's appointment of me to the senate, obamacare, dodd frank, immigration reform, tax reform, changing the courts, to just name a few. he has always been there. in these chambers there is a lot of slings and arrows, and it takes in experts to walk through these minefield.
no one does it alone. i've always had him by my side. i thank him for his service to me, but more important, for his service to the state of nevada. scott also served the office with distinction. those who know scott, those who know him, who have worked with him, know that he is a problem solver. it didn't matter which hat he was asked to wear, he wore it with pride. i will miss his hard work, his work on the banking committee, his loyalty and his great sense of humor. every office needs a scott. madam president, i would like to mention two more. sarah paul has become a dear friend of mine. joining my staff 7.5 years ago, i have leaned on her heavily to help navigate some complicated issues, from gaining issues, mining and technology, no one could grasp an issue like her.
the last campaign, she served as my chief of staff as others were relegated to the state of nevada. thank you and congratulations. on thanksgiving day she introduced liam to the world. again, congratulations to sarah, and big brother james on the new addition. finally, i would like to recognize ashley. she oversees our state operation and has been with us since the early days of the house of representatives. whether it's putting together the tahoe summit keeping me up to speed on local issues, she is someone i could always count on. i've knownst decade her, she is become like family to me. more importantly like family to lynn. areis based in reno, but we fortunate to have her here in washington, d.c. today. i would like to recognize her along with matt, scott, sarah and the many members of my staff who are here today on the floor of the united states senate.
we have a great team, i have had a great team from top to bottom. a team that includes naturalized citizens whose family came to this country seeking a better life, professional social workers, and multiple combat veterans. every member of my team in reno, elko, las vegas and washington , d c has worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of nevadans. madam president, my histaff dedication, enthusiasm and work ethics go unmatched. i asked for unanimous consent to have the list of current and former staff and names be printed on the record for this legislative day. thank you. madam president, i would like to shift gears for a moment to mention several topics that demanded a lot of my time and a lot of my energy. when it comes to our legislative successes, tax reform, changes on the courts, banking reform,
go down the list. i'm most proud of what we accomplished to help the 300,000 veterans who call nevada home. i think that everybody here in this chamber will agree that while we can never fully repay our debt to our nations heroes, we can do everything in our power to show our gratitude for their selflessness and their sacrifice. once these men and women return home after leaving their families to fight for our country, it is our turn to fight for them and to make sure that each and every nevada veteran receives the treatment they need , the services they need and the skills that they need to get a job to take care of their families. i see that responsibility as a duty and a privilege. in fact, i've said this before and i'll say it again, the greatest compliment i ever received, in public office, was when i overheard one veteran say to another, if you need help, call senator heller's office. as a senior member of the senate committee on veterans affairs, i've had the opportunity to give
our veterans a strong voice in washington, d.c. under chairman johnny isakson's leadership we made great strides bringing greater accountability to the va including the benefits, and support that our veterans have earned. for example, earlier this year, we pushed the historic v.a. mission act over the finish line. law directs 50 -- $50 million to the va healthcare system so the va can hire more high-quality staff and allow veterans to get the care they need near their homes in on their schedules. we are also expanding the v.a. caregivers program which provides families of disabled veterans that require care in their home. previously only post 9/11 veterans were able to apply. now veterans from every era are eligible. this is particularly important
to many veterans in nevada. they told me how critical it was that we get veterans more access to this program. and these are just a few examples to fix a problem that came up in my discussions jeremy veterans advisory council during veterans advisory council meetings. i established these groups of veterans in the northern and southern part of the state to speak frequently and directly with them about the challenges they are facing and the problems that needed to be fixed. previously just a few years ago nevada the a was one of the worst rent offices in the nation. this was the time when veterans were waiting for on average, 400 days for a disability claim to be approved. this is not acceptable so i teamed up with senator bob casey from pennsylvania. to hold the v.a. feet to the fire and as a result of the implementation in the 21st century of this delivery, the backlog was reduced by nearly 85% and 500,000 of our military heroes around the country are no longer waiting for their
health benefits. we also provided accountability to expedite fire authority. a -- firing authority. we overhauled the va appeals process so veterans do not have to eight years for a decision. and the president signed the bill into law, in reno, last year. expanded veterans access to care has been one of my top priorities. the construction of the va hospital and $33.5 million in federal funding so the veterans do not have to drive 500 miles to access a veterans home. a walk-through of the construction site when i was a last month, the completion of the state-of-the-art facility. i do the same for veterans and southern nevada. i worked for 10 years to curese the approval of the new, larger clinic in pahrump.
affairs, attracting an education to earn a living i introduced a bill that has benefits for guard and reserve members that ensure g.i. bill is available to veterans for life. and after nevada was ranked among states, second with the highest-rated veterans suicides and experiencing a dr. shortage, i authorized a new law that gives veterans were access to mental health care services and treatment. i grateful for the opportunity am to work with chairman isaacson, ranking member tester, senate leadership and this administration to enact laws that provide veterans with support and benefits that they are owed. and while we have made process, we can and must do better. it is my hope that the next congress, republican and democrats can continue to work together to get things down for -- done for our veterans. madam president, on another topic, tax reform. when i delivered my speech on the floor of the united states senate,
nevada was struggling after being knocked down by the great recession. led thehen nevada nation in home foreclosures and when we had double-digit unemployment. today, nevada is leading the nation private sector job growth. the housing market has recovered, home prices are increasing. now, where one of the fastest growing states in the nation. nevada is booming because this congress delivered tax cuts that put more money in america's paychecks their pocketbooks and pensions. we advanced program policies that have led to more jobs, higher wages and more opportunities for nevada and. -- nevadans. as a member of the u.s. senate committee on finance, authorized the jobs act which include doubling the child tax credit from $1000-$2000 per child. since the law was enacted tens of thousands of jobs in the
state of nevada had been created and recently the unemployment rate hit a new 11 year low. the lowest rate since the 2000 -- 2008 economic downturn. as a result of the new law, tens of thousands of nevadans have benefited from raises, benefits and expanded benefits on top of bigger paychecks and strengthened pensions. i will give you a couple of examples of southpoint hotel and casino. it doubled its full-time workers bonuses. developers of a stalled project on the las vegas strip committed to creating over 10,000 jobs. the prospector hotel in ely gave employees bonuses and raised starting wages. all of this was a direct result of the tax reform bill. nevada's economy is back on track, and i hope the congress will continue to advance policies that keep us on that path to help nevada workers and
hard-working families get ahead. let me move on. since coming to washington to -- d.c., my number one focus has always been the people of nevada and putting our state priorities first. for example i worked with martin heinrich to have the developing of new alternative energy technologies to support nevada's energy diversification. earlier this year, i was proud to host the bipartisan annual lake tocco summit. and i worked with senator -- tahoe summit. and i worked with senator feinstein throughout my career to deliver resources to protect the tahoe basin and fight devastating wildfires. when congress came together to approve a five-year highway bill, i was able to secure my infrastructure priorities to expand interstate 11 up to northern nevada.
the republican charge to extend employment benefits in 2014 when the employment rate was nearly double, what it is now. while breaking with my party to pass the violence against women's act. i have been willing to work with anyone that has good ideas. that moved nevada families and communities forward. so while i am pleased that i'm able to work with colleagues to turn these ideas into over 100 pieces of legislation, that are -- this job is more than advance a good policies. it is about helping people. that is what is most important. i work for nevadans. when someone comes to me with a
problem, or cause office for -- called the office for help, we do everything we can do and all that we do in an effort to help them. when the v.a. refused to pay a homeless that are in $40,000 after he won his appeal, we made sure the veteran got paid so he could get back on his feet. while the constituent had a liver transplant and was denied coverage and left without insurance, he enrolled in the marketplace exchange. when the time came to reenroll, the exchange denied him and forced him to go without insurance until my office intervened. take for example, the women they came to us after being charged a medicare penalty about 40% each month. staff worked with the local offices to secure reimbursement over thousands of dollars and adjust the monthly premium to say that constituent potentially thousands of dollars. and what the constituent spent and i must try to get her social security retirement benefits were able to get her some to properly begin
receiving her payments. finally, when a navy veteran was in jeopardy of losing his hong, when he was temporarily out of work, we contacted the lender of his mortgage on his behalf and in short he was able to keep his home. these are just a few examples of what this job is really all about. making life better for people that you work for. a madam president, i know not alone. i truly believe that is what drives all members of congress and it is to serve their constituents. no matter your partyno matter your state, no matter what you did before you got here. so, madam president, before i got here i grew up with two parents and five siblings who like nevadans, embodied that spirit. i would have to pay tribute not only to my family, friends and mentors who have helped me along the way but all of my , constituents that have talked to me a little bit about what makes nevada different. nevadans are pioneers. not afraid to take risks. to dream, to put in hard work or to start from scratch. we are self-starters. we are builders and trailblazers.
the track to connect the mines for gold and silver in the north. we shoveled mud and drove through rocks and skilled -- scaled concrete. in the mojave desert we created the entertainment capitol of the the -- world. one characteristic outsiders may look as this, we are fighters. and no other event in our history serves as an example of that trait in the aftermath of the october 1 mass shooting in las vegas, a tragedy that truly shuck hours -- shook our state. i have spoken about this on the senate floor about the incredible harold people that helped lead concertgoers and get the whole community are that darkness. whether these individuals were uniforms or not, they stepped up to help others. toir actions helped us grieve and start to heal together. this immeasurable pain, suffering and devastation inflicted by one man, was a profound innate and immediate human response from nevadans across the state. like many nevadans, i saw firsthand the strong sense of
family, faith in the strength in the wake of the october 1 shooting. when i leave here i will carry , those moments of unity and generosity with me. madam president, during the 1989 address, former president george h w bush once said, we know what works, freedom works. we know what is right. freedom is right. we know how to secure a more just and prosperous life for man on earth. through free markets, free speech, free elections and the exercise of free will unhampered by the state. regardless of what party affiliation you have, i still think that we can all agree with those words. we can all agree that we are fortunate to live in a great country defended by men and women who stand guard to defend our way of life. we can all agree we are fortunate to live in a great country in which every aspiration or dream is possible to achieve.
and we can all agree that this is because freedom works and the freedom is right. no, not everything comes easy and i would be lying if i said others didn't have to fight harder than some. but that job you want to get, the school you want to get into, that business you want to start or the idea that you would like to see come to light, is possible in america. -- where the son of an auto mechanic and a school cook had the opportunity to deliver the newspaper to then governor michael callahan, go to school with them and tenant governor harry reid, sons, get his education at the same with -- high school as a late senator or play basketball with brian sandoval. place where that same kid can
grow up and serve nevada in the united states senate. my goal, always has been to make nevada a better place today. a better place to raise a family, not only when were you can find a job but a place we can have a long-term career. madam president, i would like to end with this. my daughter hilary, and her husband adopted a young child from china. infant abandoned as an at a bus station. her name is a that. she -- ava. she was raised in an orphanage for the first two years of her life. my daughter and her family first met ava, she did not cry when she was hungry. she did not cry when she was tired. she did not cry when she needed to be changed. and she did not cry when she was hurt. why? because it did not matter.
she was always on someone else's time. cry when they took her shoes off to put her to bed. kidsee, an orphanage, sleep with their shoes on so they don't get lost. ava, at two years of age, had never slept without her shoes on. now she did cry the first time , when they bathed her in a tub of water. -- let me go back. she did cry the first time when they bathed her in a tub of water. in an orphanage, you take cloth bats. -- baths. so ava had never been in a bathtub. today, when ava falls, someone is there to pick her up.
today when she cries, someone is there to wipe away the tears. today when she is hungry, someone is there to feed her. and today when she's tired, there is always someone there to talk her into bed. tuck her into bed. and when ava grows up in this country, there will be plenty of doors that she can open that would otherwise have been closed. forget -- iever will never forget seeing my newest granddaughter in the arms of the vice president knowing that her life had changed forever. somatic president, this is the job at hand. to uphold the country
-- madam president, this is the job at hand. to uphold the country long-standing reputation as the land of opportunity. i am an optimist. after leaving this great chamber because i've seen remarkable moments here in washington. this body has come a long way. from its early days when henry clay, webster and john calhoun navigating a divided nation and fighting to save our young democracy. i believe our nation's future is bright. and that of nevada's future is bright. my heart has and always will be in nevada. a state that i love and a place where i am so proud to call home. nevada, thank you for giving me the opportunity to work for you. thank you, madam president. >> 8:00 in eastern, conversations with republican members of congress.
they all discuss losing their reelection bids and reflect on their time in congress. >> we go on our app, our devices, we want things quickly. jefferson wrote this 14 years after the declaration of independence. the ground of liberty is to be gained by inches. we must be content with what we can get from time to time, and eternally pressed forward for what is yet to get. it takes time to persuade men, even for their own good. so my point is, we culturally need to step back and say look, these things take time. we've got to take small steps in order to get there. >> my big thing, to think we spent trillions now on these wars, and the war in afghanistan is not going on, 18 years. i think it's just ridiculous. i think also, these wars and our foreign policy has caused us to have more enemies than we would've had. it's done more harm than good. >> in the congress of the united
states, i believe, in the house of representatives, there's simply, still with of the reforms that nancy pelosi has pledged to accept, based on my counterparts in the caucus, either there's just too much power in too few hands with too little getting done for the people, and i fear that's not going to change. >> watch conversations with tiring members of congress saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org, and listen on the free c-span radio app. >> california will have seven new members of the house in the 116th congress, all of whom are democrats, and all of them represent districts previously held by republicans. harley router is the first of four representing districts in orange county, south of los angeles. he's a businessman and attorney. he and his wife also opened a
homeless shelter for families when they lived in ohio. katie porter, in the 45th district, oversaw the implementation of a $25 billion settlement between mortgage servicers and homeowners on behalf of the state of california. she is also a law professor at the university of california, irvine. mike levin was elected to represent the 49th district. he's worked in an environmental law and the clean energy industry for most of his career. he also spent time as the executive director of the orange county democratic party, and is a fundraiser for hillary clinton's i-16 presidential camp -- 2016 campaign. gil cisneros is a navy veteran. he was recently laid off in 2010, when he won $266 million in the mega millions jackpot. he and his wife used some of the money to establish scholarships and in educational foundation. democrats picked up a fifth seat and those lighters area. katie hill -- los angeles area.
katie hill was elected. she used to run a nonprofit for the homeless. at age 31, she will be the youngest member of california's congressional delegation. tj coxe was elected to the 21st district, south and west of fresno in the san joaquin valley. he has a degree in engineering and worked for a time as a mining engineer. he later received a business degree, and open several businesses in the area, including two companies that process locally grown nuts. and josh harper was elected to represent the 10th district, located further north in the san joaquin valley. he's a venture capitalist and talk to business at a local community college. new congress, new leaders. watch it all on c-span. >> next, substance of these efforts on treatment and recovery options for people dealing with addiction and drug dependency. from the washington