Sen. Shaheen honors Rudman in speech on Senate floor
November 30. 2012 12:33AM
Below are Shaheen's remarks, as prepared for delivery.
Mr. President, I rise today to honor the life of a distinguished former member of this Senate and a proud son of New Hampshire, Warren B. Rudman.
Senator Rudman was widely and deservedly hailed in both life and now in his death as a public servant who reached across party lines to get the job done for his country and his state. Warren Rudman did not to do this out of weakness. He acted so because of the strength and courage that marked his entire life.
An Army combat veteran of the Korean conflict, Warren Rudman earned a Bronze Star Medal. He was an amateur boxer. As the Attorney General for the State of New Hampshire, he was a ferocious prosecutor. His memoir was aptly entitled “Combat.”
As a United States Senator, Warren Rudman relished taking on big battles. In the 1980s he joined with Senators Fritz Hollings and Phil Gramm in a bipartisan effort to tackle deficits. If the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act had been followed by subsequent Congresses, we today would not be struggling to reduce massive deficits. He did not shrink from holding a President of his own party accountable when he served on the Congressional panel investigating the Iran-contra affair. Nor was he reluctant to hold his fellow Senators accountable when he chaired the Senate Ethics Committee.
Warren Rudman's public service did not end after he left the Senate. Most notably, he co-chaired with another former Senator, Gary Hart, a national security commission that correctly predicted a terrorist attack within America's borders.
Warren Rudman was always blunt and outspoken.
During the Iran-contra hearings he said to Oliver North, "The American people have the constitutional right to be wrong. And what Ronald Reagan thinks or Oliver North thinks or what I think or what anybody else thinks matters not a whit."
He said he left the Senate because Congress was “stuck in the mud of strident partisanship, excessive ideology, never-ending campaigns.” And that was how he saw Congress over 20 years ago.
But it was his more quiet work that Warren Rudman was most proud of. His greatest achievement, he said, was his behind-the-scenes efforts to get David Souter, another son of New Hampshire, nominated to serve on the Supreme Court.
Sometimes forgotten is Senator Rudman's authorship of and successful push to enact the Small Business Innovation Research program which, still, to this day enables small businesses to compete for federal research and development awards.
Warren B. Rudman lived a long and full life. His service graced the Senate. To the end he had New Hampshire granite in his veins.