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(Senate - May 24, 2012)

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[Page S3625]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                       TRIBUTE TO LOUIE A. WRIGHT

 Mrs. McCASKILL Mr. President, today I Wish to honor the work 
of Louie A. Wright. In our great Nation, there are labor leaders and 
then there are exceptional labor leaders. Louie Wright is one of those 
exceptional labor leaders.
  Louie recently retired as the head of the International Association 
of Firefighters Local 42 in Kansas City, but Louie will never stop 
working and fighting for working men and women of Missouri and, for 
that matter, the Nation.
  Louie is exceptional for many reasons, not the least of which are his 
intellect, his professionalism, and his ability to work with, not 
against, management to the benefit of his membership.
  I have known Louie for over 30 years. I have watched him under 
pressure. I have watched him succeed. I have watched him stumble from 
time to time. But through it all he remained steadfast and loyal to his 
friends and willing to do anything for his fellow firefighters.
  Louie grew up in Kansas City and, as a young man, became a 
firefighter for the city of Kansas City, MO, Fire Department. It was a 
full-time job, but for Louie full-time is 24 hours-a-day, so in 1988 he 
entered law school at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
  He received a law degree and was admitted to the Missouri, Kansas, 
Colorado and Federal bar. Louie also clerked in the U.S. District Court 
in the Western District of Missouri, and he accomplished all of this 
while serving the people of Kansas City as one of their most dedicated 
  Having a labor leader with a law degree is a powerful force when 
negotiating labor contracts, and the men and women of the city's fire 
department recognized that, electing Louie president of IAFF Local 42 
in 1995.
  What also set Louie apart was his understanding that for firefighters 
to expect decent wages and benefits, the department had to demand that 
it become a first-rate firefighting and fire prevention force. And 
today Kansas City has one of the best and most well-respected fire 
departments in the Nation.
  Louie did not just care about his firefighters, but he cared for all 
the working men and women of Kansas City and was and remains a member 
of the executive committee of the Greater Kansas City AFL CIO. In 
addition, one of his true passions is health care and its delivery to 
all Kansas Citians. Louie spent untold volunteer hours on the board of 
the Truman Medical Center and the Mid-America Health Coalition.
  In conclusion, we honor him today as an exceptional labor leader. 
Upon Louie's retirement, IAFF Local 42 lost an amazing president. 
However, Kansas City has not lost one of its finest advocates for the 
working men and women. Thankfully, his work will continue. I treasure 
his friendship and am proud to recognize his immense