TRIBUTE TO JEFF FLAKE; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 197
(Senate - December 13, 2018)

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[Pages S7532-S7533]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                         TRIBUTE TO JEFF FLAKE

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I would like to close by paying tribute 
to another Member of this body whose retirement in the Senate is fast 
approaching. This particular Senator, in his own words, grew up on a 
dry, dusty ranch in Northern Arizona. You might be surprised at that 
description if you knew only the name of his hometown--``Snowflake.'' 
But this Navajo County town of a couple of thousand residents wasn't 
named for its meteorology; it was named for its founding families. It 
was set up back in 1878 by two wagon train pioneers: Mr. Snow and--that 
is right--Mr. Flake. It would still be 34 years until Arizona became 
the 48th State, and 134 years later, that Mormon pioneer's great-great-
grandson would be elected to the U.S. Senate.
  Jeff Flake is the son of cattle ranchers, so he learned all about 
``earmarking'' from an early age. Back when Jeff was serving in the 
House, he explained in an op-ed that back on the ranch, earmarking was 
an unsavory way to brand your cattle. Apparently, the practice involves 
a pocketknife.
  Well, Jeff moved on from that cattle pen. He wound up leading a 
statewide think tank. Then he won election to the House. By the time he 
arrived here in Washington--filled with equal parts fiery resolve and 
smalltown collegiality--``earmarks'' had come to mean something very 
different to him, but, as his House colleagues would soon find out, he 
found the new meaning just as unappealing.
  Jeff's take on fiscal responsibility and good government ruffled some 
feathers over in the House, but his star kept rising. He didn't seem to 
mind that lonely feeling that we have all known here in Washington from 
time to time--the occasional sense that you have wound up on a bit of 
an island. I mean, Jeff really didn't mind this feeling. This is not a 
political metaphor, by the way; it is literally one of the man's 
hobbies.
  Starting back in 2009, and several times since, our colleague had 
decided a ``dream vacation'' means a rugged survival trip where he is 
marooned on a remote island with just a couple tools. In one eloquent 
reflection, Jeff described this predilection as ``a long bout of 
`Caruso envy.' ''
  That first time, he traveled alone. To pass the time, there was the 
standard activities--dodging sharks; spearfishing for breakfast, lunch, 
and dinner; starting fires with coconut husks and a magnifying glass; 
befriending the hermit crabs--you know, typical tourist fare.
  In fairness to our friend, maybe a solo getaway has a special appeal 
to anyone who grew up as one of 11 children or, for that matter, I can 
see why it might tempt a Member of the House, but apparently the appeal 
was somewhat broader than the alone time because on subsequent trips 
Jeff actually brought company.
  A few years ago, he talked our colleague Martin Heinrich into coming 
along on one of these adventures. It was just the two of them--and some 
TV cameras. This was prime time stuff now. The network called the show 
``Rival Survival.''
  That title actually reminds me of something Jeff said to his former 
colleagues in the House in his farewell speech, while he was preparing 
to come over here. He said coming to the Senate was like entering 
``enemy territory.'' That is a funny phrase, ``enemy territory.'' It is 
funny because vitriol and hostility are so precisely not how Senator 
Flake will be remembered.
  Instead, there have been warm and genuine friendships with colleagues 
on both sides of the aisle and shared work on policy accomplishments 
that have already made a difference for millions of Americans.
  Jeff has cast votes for landmark accomplishments that have tangibly 
made life better for middle-class families in his home State and across 
the Nation. We don't have enough time here to name them all.
  As part of this majority on behalf of the people of Arizona, Senator 
Flake gave his vote to start historic tax cuts and tax reform for the 
American people and to enact major regulatory reforms and to pass 
bipartisan achievements on every subject from the opioid crisis to 
caring for our veterans.
  So Jeff has achieved much in this high office. He has had a hand in 
numerous consequential policy victories. A few years back, he was named 
by The Hill newspaper as the No. 1 most beautiful person on Capitol 
Hill. Talk about an achievement that few of us can even aspire to.

[[Page S7533]]

  Seriously, I think we all know that nothing Jeff has done in these 
hallways will rank as his proudest accomplishment. That has to be 
persuading Cheryl to marry him and the beautiful family they have built 
together, five kids--Alexis, Austin, Tanner, Ryan, and Dallin--and now 
grandchildren.
  Almost a decade ago, after his first island adventure, Jeff wrote: 
``I will never see a sunset as peaceful as [the ones] I saw there.''
  Well, I am not so sure. I suspect that when Jeff is back home with 
his lovely family by his side--well, with company like that, I expect 
the Arizona sunsets will give those Pacific nights a run for their 
money after all.
  So we bid farewell to our colleague. We thank him for his service, 
and we wish him and his family much happiness in the next chapters they 
will be writing together.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 
ordered.

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