(Senate - May 23, 2013)

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[Pages S3795-S3796]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        TRIBUTE TO MELVIN MINOR

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I rise to speak in morning business, and I 
wish to recognize the presence of my senior Senator from Kansas.
  I am here to visit about an individual who died in Kansas recently to 
whom I wish to pay tribute. There are many things we admire about our 
folks back in our home State of Kansas, but one of the things that 
stands out to me is how strongly people care about their local 
communities and the citizens who live there. It is demonstrated by 
volunteering at school, serving at their church or getting involved in 
public service. Kansans are often looking for ways to improve the lives 
of those who are around them.
  Former Kansas State Representative Melvin Minor was exactly one of 
those individuals. In Kansas, his family, his constituents lost a great 
man. He was a talented educator, highly regarded by his students, and a 
dedicated public servant.
  Mel was born in 1937 in the small Central Kansas community of 
Arlington. As a young man, he attended Kansas State Teachers College--
now known as Emporia State University--where he graduated in 1959.
  Six years later, Mel married Carolyn Fuller and spent the next 46 
years by her side before her passing in 2011. Together they raised two 
daughters, Gayle and Mary Jo.
  Mel and Carolyn had a lot in common, especially their interest in 
education and in young people. In fact, they met while they were both 
serving, working as teachers. For 15 years Mel taught American 
Government and Carolyn taught home economics in the St. John School 
  Many of us can remember a favorite teacher who made an impact on our 
lives when we were growing up, someone who taught us not only facts and 
figures but also instilled in us a love for learning and an interest in 
the world around us. Mel was just that kind of teacher for many Kansas 
high school students. St. John is a small rural community in Central 
Kansas with less than 1,500 people.
  Many folks who live in St. John make their living on the farm and Mel 
understood this way of life and could

[[Page S3796]]

relate to his students from the farm because he too was a farmer. For 
more than a decade Mel taught them about how our government works and 
invested in their lives. He helped broaden the horizons of those 
students and opened their eyes to new subjects and to new ideas. Upon 
learning of his passing, one of his former students said, ``There was 
no better social studies and government teacher than Melvin Minor.''
  After teaching government for 15 years, Mel decided to try his own 
hand at governing and he campaigned for a seat in the Kansas State 
Legislature. He was elected and he served Kansans in the 114th District 
in the Kansas House of Representatives for the 14 years to follow.
  We all know that to serve in public office takes a great commitment 
from your family, but especially from your spouse. For the Minor family 
running for office was a team effort. Mel and Carolyn made a great 
team--such a team that, in fact, Carolyn served as his campaign manager 
and treasurer.
  I had the privilege of getting to know Mel when I served as a State 
senator and our terms overlapped for 6 years. Even though we were of 
different political parties, we had a lot in common because it was 
about our love for Kansas and interest in rural issues that brought us 
  He was such a strong advocate for rural Kansas and the special way of 
life we enjoy in small communities across our State. As a farmer Mel 
was especially interested in agriculture policy and stood up for the 
best interests of Kansas farmers and ranchers.
  As a longtime Kansas resident, Mel was well known and respected 
throughout our State but especially there in Central Kansas where he 
was very active in the community of Stafford. He was a member of the 
Stafford United Methodist Church and served on the board of directors 
of the St. John National Bank, the Zenith COOP, and the Stafford 
District Hospital.
  He was also dedicated to making sure all Kansans have access to a 
quality education and served on the Stafford Board of Education.
  During his time on the school board, he met another strong advocate 
for education, Ruth Teichman. After getting to know Ruth and witnessing 
her dedication to Kansans, Mel encouraged her to run for the State 
senate. Here it was a Democrat encouraging a Republican to run. It took 
8 years of prodding, but he finally convinced her, and she served 
Kansans for 12 years in the Kansas Senate.
  Ruth remembers Mel as someone who was never without a smile and 
someone who simply enjoyed life and spending time with people. Even 
when things were not going his way, he was known for saying ``the sun 
will come out tomorrow'' and took all of life in stride.
  His family and friends described him as someone to whom others went 
for advice and counsel. He was known for his integrity, hard-working 
spirit, and dedication to the work at hand--whether as a teacher, a 
farmer, or a legislator.
  One of his former colleagues in the house, Dennis McKinney of 
Greensburg, eventually rose to become the minority leader in the Kansas 
House of Representatives and considered Mel his mentor when he began 
his political career. He remembers Mel as someone who always lived out 
the biblical command to care for those with the greatest needs. From 
the patients at Larned State Hospital to the youth in the juvenile 
justice system, Mel was always looking for ways to serve his fellow 
Kansans and improve their lives.
  Dennis McKinney also remembers that Mel Minor had a great sense of 
humor. Dennis recalled one time when the two of them were the only two 
Democrats voting in favor of an appropriations bill in the Republican-
controlled house of representatives. Dennis was sitting behind Mel at 
the time and leaned forward to tell him that he felt a little bit 
awkward. Mel looked around the chamber, and with a glint in his eye 
told Dennis he did not see anyone in the chamber registered to vote in 
his district. He said he was not concerned about the pressure from his 
colleagues but was more concerned about doing what was right for the 
people who voted him into office.
  Mel lived each day to its fullest, and his commitment to his fellow 
man serves as an example for all of us.
  I extend, on behalf of Senator Roberts and me, our sympathies to his 
two daughters Gayle and Mary Jo and to his grandchildren Abby, Katie, 
and Barrett. I know they loved him dearly. He loved them dearly. He 
will miss them and they will miss him very much.
  I ask my colleagues and Kansans to remember the Minor family in your 
thoughts and your prayers as they face these days ahead.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from Kansas for his 
wonderful eulogy to a wonderful man, a teacher, a State legislator, and 
just a very nice individual. I thank the Senator for that excellent 
eulogy. We will miss him.