Luther Strange delivers Senate farewell address, calls for bipartisanship

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Alabama Senator Luther Strange delivered a farewell address to his colleagues on the Senate floor on Thursday after serving 10 months in the chamber.

Titled, “A return to the Marble Room,” Strange urged more bipartisanship and to work across party lines. During his speech, he called attention to the empty Marble Room, once a bipartisan retreat for senators off the Senate floor.

“What was once an incubator for collegiality and bipartisanship has become a glaring reminder of the divisions that we have allowed to distract us from the business of the American people… This emptiness symbolizes something that worries me about today’s politics,” Strange said from the Senate floor. “It’s likely both a symptom and a cause of the partisan gridlock that often dominates this chamber.” 

“Strange continued, When we have each left this great body, I know we would like to be remembered as men and women in the arena, as people who spent themselves in worthy causes. I’m convinced the worthiest cause we can join today is the return to the collegiality, the pragmatism and yes, dare I say, the compromise of the Marble Room.”

Strange called on his Senate colleagues to find a “shared cause, shared purpose in the quiet corners,” urging them to “return to the collegiality, the pragmatism, and yes, the compromise, of the Marble Room.”

Strange was appointed in February by former Gov. Robert Bentley to fill the seat vacant by Jeff Sessions when he left the U.S. Senate to become President Donald Trump‘s attorney general. In September, Strange lost the Republican primary run-off to Alabama former Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore now faces Democratic Doug Jones on Dec. 12 in a special election to fill Session’s seat.

Kentucky-Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said Strange would be missed greatly.

“I know all of our colleagues share the view that the senator from Alabama has made an extraordinary commitment, made an extraordinary difference for Alabama and for the nation during his time here,” said McConnell. “We will miss him greatly.”

Excerpts from Strange’s prepared address:

“The idea that the chaos and upheaval that we see today are somehow unique falls flat in the face of monumental history. Pundits and politicians are too quick to speak in superlatives, but chaos and change are nothing new. The Senate was designed to endure, and rooms of marble are built to last.”

“Our generation of leaders will be judged by history on whether we strove to heal the divisions of this body and our nation. … And yet, compromise has become a dirty word in American politics, and it’s a serious threat to our hopes of advancing meaningful policy.”

“It is easy for those outside this chamber to insist that they know what should be done. As long as we remain so deeply divided, these outside voices will always win.

“I am convinced – the worthiest cause we can join today is a return to the collegiality, the pragmatism, and yes, the compromise, of the Marble Room.”

Watch Strange’s farewell address below:

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