TRIBUTE TO NORM BROWNSTEIN; Congressional Record Vol. 159, No. 74
(Senate - May 23, 2013)

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[Pages S3837-S3838]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                       TRIBUTE TO NORM BROWNSTEIN

 Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, today, I wish to speak 
about a very special Coloradan on the occasion of his 70th birthday--
Mr. Norm Brownstein. I am joined by two of my esteemed colleagues, who 
associate themselves with these remarks today: Majority Leader Harry 
Reid and my fellow Colorado senator Michael Bennet.

 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  On page S3837, May 23, 2013, the Record reads: Mr. Udall of 
Colorado. Mr. President, today, I rise on behalf of .  .  
  The online Record has been corrected to read: Mr. Udall of 
Colorado. Mr. President, today, I wish to speak about .  
.  .

 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

  Norm Brownstein is someone who many Americans may not know, but he is 
someone who has had an indelible effect on our Nation's public policy 
over the past several decades.
  At root, Norm's story is an American success story. A Coloradan, a 
husband, a father of three, and a grandfather of four, Norm is someone 
who advocates passionately on behalf of the causes in which he 
believes. He is a man who rose from nothing to be involved at the apex 
of many of our country's most important political debates.
  We are proud today to speak on the floor of the United States Senate 
on behalf of a man known by many of us as the ``101st Senator,'' to 
wish him a happy birthday, and, on behalf of so many of our colleagues, 
to let the American people know a little bit about this man.
  The son of a Russian immigrant, and an orphan in his teenage years, 
Norm was not afforded the opportunities granted to many others who find 
success. And yet, despite his hardships, Norm excelled at academics, 
and, while working part time at a bicycle shop, became the first in his 
family to graduate from college. After getting his degree at the 
University of Colorado in Boulder, he went on to get a law degree 
  Norm may have done well in school, but in the late 1960s the Nation's 
top firms were not as hospitable as they should have been to talented 
Jewish lawyers. But that did not stop him. Norm and his childhood 
friend Steve Farber decided to open up their own firm in 1968 and away 
they went. Today, that firm--Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck--has 240 
lawyers and consultants and 10 offices.
  At first, Norm was not involved in politics--instead focusing on 
building his firm through real estate and other traditional legal work. 
But as Norm's legal practice grew, so too did his community 
involvement, as well as his interest in policy and politics.
  Norm's firm already was involved very much in Denver and Colorado 
from a civic standpoint as well as with Colorado's political leaders. 
But Norm decided to take it to the next level and work with as many 
political leaders in the country as he could, both Democrats and 
Republicans. But, unlike so many who develop political relationships to 
pursue a narrow personal agenda, Norm pursued these political 
relationships based on his love of Israel and his desire to promote 
America's relationship with our most important ally in the Middle East. 
He joined the board of AIPAC, the American/Israel Public Affairs 
Committee, and if a Member of Congress supported Israel, Norm worked 
with that Member, to help them help the United States and Israel. This 
went on for decades. After a while, Norm knew so many Senators so well, 
he was presented in 2003 with a photograph of this Chamber, with the 
signature of every senator in the body at that time, to go with a 
plaque previously signed by several of our colleagues with the title 
``our 101st Senator''.

[[Page S3838]]

  Over the years, folks would ask for Norm's help in Washington, DC, 
and eventually he decided to open an office in Washington in the late-
1990s. Like his challenging childhood, and his rough introduction to 
the legal community, Norm faced numerous obstacles in opening a DC 
office operating out of Denver. But as with everything else he set his 
mind to, this effort also thrived. Today, Brownstein's DC office has 
risen from a meager shop of two people in 1997 to being at the top of 
its field.
  In a tribute to Norm's many decades of work and successes, the 
Smithsonian Institution recently honored him in a permanent exhibit 
displaying 89 Americans who have had a profound impact on America's 
politics and policy. His colleagues in this exhibit include a who's who 
of major American political figures and business leaders including: our 
former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, the current House 
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, our current U.S. Secretary of Health and 
Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the business icon and 
entrepreneur Steve Case, and the list goes on. It is not easy to be 
mentioned on a list of the most influential people in our Nation's 
political discourse when you are not in government. So it makes us 
proud that such a list would include a homegrown lawyer from Denver.
  And through all of his policy and political work, Norm has always 
remained true to his core--helping Israel and helping the people of 
Colorado. For example, in our home State, Norm has worked with the U.S. 
Congress to, among other things: help the University of Colorado build 
its Health Sciences Center as well as obtain federal funding to 
research Down Syndrome; help the City of Denver obtain federal funding 
to build the Denver International Airport; and help National Jewish 
Health obtain federal funding for life saving respiratory projects.
  This next example is instructive of where Norm's heart is--finding 
opportunities that intersect with good business, good public policy, 
and good benefits to everyday Americans. A number of years ago, some of 
our colleagues were talking about changing the laws involving 
foundations, because they thought there were a lot of abuses there. 
These were well-intentioned changes, but they would have prevented a 
particular philanthropist in Colorado from providing full-ride 
scholarship programs to students who could not otherwise afford to go 
to college in the State. Norm worked tirelessly on this issue. He 
educated numerous Members and staffs about the anomalous effect the 
pending proposals would have. His efforts led to a restructuring of the 
proposed law that allowed the bank that this philanthropist owned to 
stay private, and more importantly, stay involved. This bank is now the 
largest bank in Colorado, and it houses one of the largest scholarship 
programs in the United States--and literally thousands of students will 
get to go to college because of Norm Brownstein's work.
  Norm's incredible life story is one that could and should be 
instructive to us in these partisan times. His talent and work ethic 
are enormous. His love of the United States and Israel is limitless. 
And his affection for so many of us here in Congress is 100 percent 
genuine. And while his passion for politics and public policy is 
boundless, Norm does not care if you are a Democrat or a Republican. 
Instead, he just cares about you the person. Partisanship is a dirty 
word to Norm. We should all take a page from his playbook.
  There are many of us here in the Congress who know Norm Brownstein as 
a friend and we are truly blessed. We hope we have helped you get to 
know him a little bit better too. Happy birthday to a great Coloradan--
and a truly great American.