Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman Remembers a Truly Great Federal Employee, Sen. Robert Byrd

June 29, 2010

Mr. President, I wish to spend a few minutes talking about a truly great Federal employee, and that is Senator Robert C. Byrd.

He personified all the things I try to talk about once a week, because Robert Byrd was a Federal employee. Robert Byrd was a creature of the U.S. Senate. Robert Byrd had his family, and he was a great family man, but the Senate was also his family, and he cared about everybody here.

I remember the first time I ever had contact with Senator Byrd was in 1972. On election day in 1972, Joe Biden, a 29-year-old candidate for the U.S. Senate, was elected to the Senate running against one of the most popular officials we ever had in the State of Delaware, a wonderful public servant and Federal employee, Caleb Boggs, who had been a Congressman and Governor before he became a Senator.

Just 6 weeks later, on December 18, when his wife and two sons and daughter were bringing their Christmas tree home, the car was hit by a tractor trailer and Senator Biden's wife and daughter were killed.

Shortly after that, my church, St. Mary Magdalen in Wilmington, DE, had a memorial service for his wife and daughter. I will never forget, it was a dark night. It was in December. It was just an ugly night out. The church was full, and it was a very moving ceremony. After it was over, I found out that Senator Robert Byrd had driven himself to Wilmington, DE, come into the church, stood in the back of the church for the entire service, and then turned around and drove home. And there are hundreds of stories like that where Robert Byrd demonstrated his great love for the Senate and for the people of the Senate.

There are traditions he instilled in the Senate and traditions he kept alive in the Senate. I remember when he was majority leader, I will tell you what, there were lots of things that just never happened because Senator Byrd was going to make sure we stuck to the traditions of the Senate. So I wish to recognize Senator Robert Byrd as a great, great Federal employee.

Print this Page E-mail this Page