Speeches

Mr. President, I’d like to take just a few moments of the Senate’s time this evening. We all work in an environment in which we’re surrounded by dedicated people. And one of those in my world, Todd Novascone who has been my chief of staff for 12 years, has had his last day of work in our office today. I wanted to take just a few moments to pay tribute to him and others like him. 

Now, I think we are here because we want to make a difference. And I have no doubt that’s the case for my 99 colleagues here on the Senate floor; but it’s also true for all the folks who work here in the Senate chamber, who work in our individual offices, who work in the committees. The goal is to be in the nation’s capital in hopes that we can make better things happen for America. 

I’ve had the privilege of being surrounded by many dedicated individuals, most of them Kansans, over the period of time that I’ve served in the Congress of the United States of America. I know that my ability to work on behalf of Kansans and on behalf of the citizens of our nation is greatly altered, enhanced, improved by the fact that people who care about America, and who care about our home state, are there by my side. One of those most important to me has been my chief of staff. Todd was an elected official in his own right. He was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives and served there with distinction, and now, 12 years ago—back in the days in which I was a member in the United States House of Representatives—I asked him to uproot his family and move to Washington, D.C., and assume the task of managing our office and helping accomplish the things we all want to accomplish. And he’s done it with great style and with grace and with friendship. 

He has been the person who has motivated us to do better, and always done it in a way in which we felt good about what we were doing. Done in a management style that made us feel good about ourselves — bringing us together, not taking us apart; making certain that we knew that the outcome was important, but [also] how we got there. Matters that are important to us as individuals, as human beings — integrity, doing things right, telling the truth, those things were always honored and achieved — because of his leadership. 

People are hard to replace and Todd is especially difficult to replace. I spend most every week in the nation’s capital away from my own family and like many people here in the Senate, those who work in our offices have become part of our family. And that’s true certainly for the people who work in our office today and — although when I came to congress I was more their age, now there’s a wider gap in the age of our staff and me — my wife Robba and I believe that I’m surrounded by people who are part of our family, and Todd is certainly that. In fact, his family grew while he was my chief of staff, two children, Grace and Will, born during the days of his time as an employee in our office. And again, a reminder about how to put things in perspective, always taking care of his kids, always there for their school activities, part of their school board, involved in their athletic and musical activities, and that’s a good thing for a chief of staff to [do]. Because if it’s important to him, he’ll make certain that that is permitted and honored and is encouraged by those who work in the office. 

So, tonight I just want to say thank you to Todd Novascone of Andover, Kansas, who decided to devote 12 years of his life here in the nation’s capital trying to make things better, trying to make our office work well, and try to achieve the things that all of us want to achieve on behalf of our nation. So, to Todd Novascone: Thank you for a job well done, thank you for being my friend, and thank you for the way that you have conducted yourself on my behalf.

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