10 December 2014
Transcript of Video follows
“Mr. President, I came to the floor to talk about another topic, and that is about my friend and fellow Texan, Congressman Ralph Hall, who at the end of this year will be retiring from representing Texas’ 4th district in the House of Representatives for more than three decades.
“It’s hard to speak to the entirety of Ralph’s 34 years in Congress in just a few minutes, and I’ll try, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of his greatest hits, so to speak. So let me begin with what I admire most about Ralph Hall and share some of the thoughts on why he’s so beloved back home in Texas—why they would return him election after election after election over these many years.
“First, Ralph is someone who a lot of Texans look up to as a role model. He’s a happy warrior. Having proudly served his country and Texas for over 50 years, he’s a man of extraordinary character and remarkable integrity. When thinking about Ralph, the first thing that comes to mind is his service to others—from his military service to being the oldest and among the longest-serving members of Congress. Ralph has lived a life of service to others and he leaves behind a considerable legacy, one that will be long remembered and celebrated by people in my state, but I believe the people of the United States, too.
“For those who know Ralph know that he’s a man that wherever he goes, whether it’s back home or here in Washington, before leaving a room, he will have hugged or shaken the hand of every person in the room—not to mention telling a few bad jokes and leaving everybody laughing in the process.
“He’s a man who truly cares about others, and that’s evident by the way he arranged his desk in his Washington office. He said that one of the favorite things about his office is the view. Even so, he arranged his desk with his back to the window, so that others could sit and enjoy the view. This speaks to the kind of man he is, always putting other people first. As I said, he’s also well-known for his excellent sense of humor and an occasional bad joke. And he’s a great story teller, a raconteur.
“He does have some pretty good stories to tell though from selling cigarettes to the famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde—to putting President Reagan on hold—to his interesting encounters and friendships with Mickey Mantle, Mohammed Ali, Ted Williams, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, among others. Then there are his many stories about flying hellcat fire aircraft in the United States Navy during World War II. Ralph has led a full and exciting life.
“During his time in Congress, he’s not just been the hometown Congressman from Rockwall, Texas. He’s been the hometown Congressman to everyone he’s encountered. It doesn’t matter who you are, Ralph just naturally wants to find out how he can be helpful to you—from the person he met on the street, to the colleagues in the Texas delegation, to the President of the United States. That’s just the way he is.
“Knowing Ralph he’s probably got something up his sleeve that he’s not telling us about what he’s going to do after he leaves Congress next month. In fact, when asked about his plans after leaving Congress, Ralph mentioned he would probably go to work at Wal-Mart, because he has to have a job. Ralph’s always got to have something to do, but it goes to show that no matter what he does next, he won’t be slowing down any time soon.
“Ralph Hall will be greatly missed in this Congress, and I’m privileged to call him a colleague and a friend. I’d like to wish him Godspeed and all the best as he continues to recover from a recent car accident at his home in Rockwall, and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the next chapter of his long and storied life.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”