Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) paid tribute to longtime Third District Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt who passed away earlier this month. He was 92.
“His dedication to his constituents during his career in public service was unmatched and is a marker we should all strive to meet. During his time in Congress, he served in the minority, but he would disagree without being disagreeable. I always valued John Paul’s friendship and his continued advice. John Paul set the standard for helping Arkansans. That bar is something members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation continue to strive toward today,” Boozman said about his mentor and friend on the Senate floor.
Boozman joins other members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation honoring the 13-term Congressman with this fitting recognition. Members of the House of Representatives paid tribute on the House floor with a moment of silence.
The following are Boozman’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
I’m here today to honor a longtime champion of Arkansas, Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt who passed away earlier this month at the age of 92, after a long life as a dedicated public servant.
As a member of the Greatest Generation, John Paul served as a combat pilot during WWII and was a decorated war hero.
As Congressman for the 3rd District of Arkansas for 26 years, and the only Republican member of the delegation at the time, he worked across the aisle to provide infrastructure improvements to Arkansas, paving the way for the growth in the northwest corner of the state.
Even following his retirement more than 20 years ago, John Paul continued to serve the people who fondly referred to him as JPH. He always put Arkansas first.
His vision for a two-party system in Arkansas led him to seek elected office. He paved the way for the Republican Party in the state and his vision continues to be realized as the party continues its growth in the state.
John Paul is a name that is just as familiar in Arkansas as it is to my colleagues in the Senate who served with him before serving in this chamber as well as the many members in the House who worked alongside him during his years of elected service and decades more of providing assistance to his beloved Arkansas.
You would have been hard-pressed to find a kinder, gentler man than John Paul Hammerschmidt.
As a mentor and friend, John Paul’s wisdom and counsel has shaped my time in Washington more than anyone else. When I ran for Congress in 2001, I sought John Paul out for advice.
I quickly learned, as a newly elected member of Congress for the 3rd District of Arkansas, how fond his former colleagues were of him.
Senior members of the House of Representatives had so much respect for him that they welcomed me into their circle because he had given his approval.
It was John Paul who taught me that after the election is over, there are no more Republicans, no more Democrats, only the people of Arkansas.
His dedication to his constituents during his career in public service was unmatched and is a marker we should all strive to meet.
During his time in Congress, he served in the minority, but he would disagree without being disagreeable.
I always valued John Paul’s friendship and his continued advice.
John Paul set the standard for helping Arkansans. That bar is something members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation continue to strive toward today.
His vision to improve life for Arkansans led him to serve on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee as well as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. By the time he retired, he served as the latter’s Ranking Member. Using his position on the T&I Committee, he helped secure funds for roads and infrastructure projects including Interstate-540 which now bears his name, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, as well as protecting the Buffalo River under the designation as a National River.
John Paul left big shoes to fill.
He believed he could make a difference in the lives of Arkansans because he believed in loving his fellow man.
We are capitalizing on the benefits he helped provide, a testament to his time in Washington.
From all Arkansans, I thank John Paul for his devotion to public service, his leadership and his dedication to Arkansas. His example is something we should continue to strive for in Washington.