Tribute to Dennis Hastert
delivered 15 November 2007
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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you, my colleagues. I accept that recognition as a recognition of the role of Speaker of the House; a role that Dennis Hastert performed with great distinction and I rise to salute his leadership, Mr. Speaker.
My colleagues, you've heard me say on a number of occasions, in relationship to Dennis Hastert, that in the Congress, as members of Congress, we hold the title "Honorable" by virtue of our office that we hold; but in the case of Dennis Hastert, he holds the title of Honorable not just for the office he holds, but by virtue of his character, his leadership, and his contributions to our country.
About a year and a half ago, in June, we all observed a celebration for Speaker Dennis Hastert when he became the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House. Long may his record stand. That milestone's a testimony to the great respect he commanded, not only in the Republican conference, but in this Congress -- in this Congress as a whole, and in our country. Thank you, Dennis Hastert, for your record of achievement.
I would acknowledge someone who had a role that I once had, "minority leader," who's with us today and honors us with his presence and is again a tribute to the leadership of Dennis Hastert, leader Bob Michael.
Many of you know but I think it always bears repeating that Dennis Hastert has long had a commitment to our country, first as a teacher for 16 years, a teacher of our children and a coach, as he reminds us. He then went on to the State Legislature in Illinois where he served for six years and then in 1986 he came to the Congress of the United States where he has served with great distinction and -- and with many accomplishments, as he enumerated some earlier. In 198 -- In 1999, this Congress elected him the Speaker of the House. The Speaker of the House. He brought to that office the values of the heartland of America and the wishes and the voice for the people of Illinois' 14th district, and we have all benefited from that.
Though we have from time to time, on occasion, differed on issues -- I remember once, we all -- we all agree on the importance of public service. The kind of public service that has been the hallmark of Speaker Hastert's career, whether in the classroom or in the Congress of the United States.
Today I want to join Dennis -- if I may, my friend, Dennis, in saluting Jean for sharing Dennis with us for all these years and for her role as a teammate to him in his contributions to our country. Congratulations to you, Jean. Thank you. And thanks Joshua and Ethan and to your entire family. Mr. Speaker, I know I speak for -- and by that Mr. Speaker I'm speaking for the Speaker -- I know I speak for everyone in this House when I thank you for your service, for many things which I could enumerate but I want to mention one in particular which I have mentioned to this House before.
We all were part of history when Rosa Parks became the first African American woman to lie in state under the Capital Dome. It was a great day for Congress and for our country, it simply would not have happened without the leadership of Speaker Dennis Hastert; thank you, Dennis, for that.
As you can imagine Mr. Speaker, it's always a pleasure for me to say I know I speak for every member of this House, but I know I do when I say, Thank you for your leadership. Congratulations on a great career. I know great things are yet to come. Best wishes to you and your family. God speed in your future. God truly blessed America with your service to our country.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Also in this database:
Hastert's Farewell to Congress
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Also in this database: Dennis Hastert's Farewell to Congress
U.S. Copyright Status: Text and Audio = Public domain. Image (screenshot) = Uncertain.