Posted on September 18, 2019
As impressive as these statistics are, his colleagues know that what makes Lamar Alexander tick is not political record setting. As we’ve often heard him say about the United States Senate, ‘It’s hard to get here. It’s hard to stay here. And while you’re here, you might as well try to accomplish something.’ He surely has followed his own advice.”
Click HERE or on the photo above for video of the Leader’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 18, 2019 – United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor today that September 19 marks 9,024 days Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has been in office as either Tennessee’s governor or U.S. senator, which is more combined years than any other Tennessean.
“Tomorrow, Lamar Alexander, the senior senator from Tennessee, marks a milestone in his state’s history. He will have served either as governor or as a U.S. senator from Tennessee for 24 years, 8 months and 15 days -- more combined years in those offices than any other Tennessean,” the majority leader said. “That is not all. He is the only Tennessee governor ever popularly elected to the United States Senate. He is undefeated in six Tennessee Republican statewide primary elections —more than anyone else. And his 2008 general election vote total of 1,579,477 is still the largest ever recorded by a Tennessee statewide candidate.”
The Leader continued, “As impressive as these statistics are, his colleagues know that what makes Lamar Alexander tick is not political record setting. As we’ve often heard him say about the United States Senate, ‘It’s hard to get here. It’s hard to stay here. And while you’re here, you might as well try to accomplish something.’ He surely has followed his own advice.
“In 2012, after being elected three times by his peers as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, he did something that is not often done around here: he gave up that power and future ambitions for elected Senate leadership in order, as he said then, to ‘spend more time working to achieve results on the issues I care the most about.’ Since then, there have been a steady stream of important new laws dealing with these issues with Lamar Alexander as the principal sponsor or as the chief engineer. This has required working across the aisle with his Democrat colleagues and being willing to put a colleague in the spotlight instead of himself.
“Lamar Alexander’s service reminds us that being an elected caucus leader is not the only way to be a leader in this body. As a young man, I was an intern for Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, who was never an elected leader, but was always regarded by his colleagues as a leader because of his willingness to do what he thought ought to be done. Senator Cooper once said to me: ‘I not only represent Kentucky. I represent the nation, and there are times you follow, and times when you lead.’ Two of the three Senate office buildings are named for senators—Richard B. Russell and Philip Hart — who were never elected the leader of their party’s caucus. Lamar Alexander is such a leader. It is important to pause for a moment to note that he has served more combined years as governor and senator than anyone else from his state.”
McConnell placed into the congressional record a letter from Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, which says, “September 19, 2019, marks your 9,024th day in office as either Tennessee governor or U.S. senator from Tennessee. Your 24 years, 8 months, and 15 days of service will then surpass the previous longest serving governor and United States senator from Tennessee. This is a milestone that illustrates your dedication to public service and to Tennesseans. … I congratulate you on this, and your many other, great accomplishments and I thank you for your service to our great state.” Full text of the letter is available HERE.
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) also spoke on the Senate floor today, saying, “In Washington, and in Tennessee, Senator Alexander has distinguished himself as a man who's committed to Tennessee tradition and to helping Tennessee find prominence on the global stage.” Click HERE for video of her remarks.