Jan 11 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) spoke on the Senate floor this afternoon to honor the life and achievements of former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers.
The following are Boozman’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
I’m here today with my colleague, Tom Cotton, to honor Dale Bumpers, a longtime advocate of Arkansas, who passed away on January 1 at the age of 90, after a long life of dedicated public service.
He was a soldier and statesman who came from the small town of Charleston, Arkansas. He did things, not because of political pressure, but because he believed they were the right things to do.
He had a good foundation to understand the needs of Arkansans. He was a businessman – taking over operations at his father’s former hardware, furniture and appliance store, a rancher and an attorney in Charleston, serving as his memoir indicates “the best lawyer in a one-lawyer town.”
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1954 case Brown Vs Board of Education that outlawed segregation in schools, he advised compliance with the ruling, making it the first school district in the south to fully integrate.
He ran against incumbent Governor Winthrop Rockefeller to become the 38th governor of the State of Arkansas. Four years later he defeated longtime Senator William Fulbright in a primary before winning a seat in the senate, a position he held for 24 years.
He served as the Chairman of the Committee on Small Business from 1987 to 1994 and has a long list of accomplishments.
While he ended his Senate service more than a decade ago, before I started serving in this chamber, my colleagues who served alongside him regularly recall their memories of Senator Bumpers, a legendary orator who had a gift for public speaking– who would tell stories in a way only a Southern gentleman, with a keen sense of humor, from small-town Arkansas could.
He was passionate about his convictions and spoke from his heart about matters that he believed in.
In tributes to him on this floor during the last days of the 105th Congress, his colleagues described him as one of the most respected members of this body who was the epitome of what a Senator should be.
He was a champion of the environment, a supporter of the National Institutes of Health and funding the fight against HIV and AIDS, and constant proponent for Arkansans.
You can tell by all of the things that bear his name – the White River National Wildlife Refuge, the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, and his impact on Arkansas agriculture was recognized by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees who renamed the college of agriculture - the Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences.
These are just a few of the many things in Arkansas that reflect his dedication and commitment to our state.
Senator Bumpers leaves behind a legacy of public service, civic responsibility and accomplishments that has undoubtedly made Arkansas a better place to live.
He set an example for the Senate that we should continue to strive for.