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Congressman John Sarbanes Pays Tribute To Senator Paul Sarbanes on the House Floor
“I want to thank the Majority Leader for yielding. I want to thank you for your friendship with my father, Paul Sarbanes, for so many years – you go back with him a long way. And he cherished that friendship, as he did the relationship with all the members of the Maryland Delegation during the time that he served.
And I want to thank my colleagues here tonight, who’ve come to help remember him and pay tribute.
On behalf of my brother, Michael, and my sister, Janet, I want to thank all the people who, over the last 48 hours, have been sending in these remembrances and tributes to my father from his time in the Senate, and before that, here in the House, where he was for six years and from time periods before that even.
I want to thank right up front and in particular his staff, who, over the course of his 40 years in public service, he understood were the ones who made him or broke him. He was a tough task master, but he chose people that had that same set of principles and values and commitment to hard work.
A lot of the tributes that have been coming in have talked about him being a workhorse, not a show horse – the idea that if you put your head down, you get the job done, you try to build consensus where you can, but you always remember that you’re here for a reason. That is, to make good, strong policy that can help people.
He lived a full life. He made a difference in the lives of others, which is all he ever wanted to do. I mean, he knew he wanted to be in politics from a very early age, but his motivation was looking at the opportunities he had – the son of Greek immigrants who came to this country with very little – and he had the opportunities for education and advancement. His motivation was to make those available to others.
He loved being with people. He had a dry sense of humor. He enjoyed banter with all who crossed his path – was intensely interested in the journey that others had taken to whatever station they held in life. And he was always asking, ‘Where are you from? What do you do? What’s next for you?’
He had an inherent integrity that was strengthened by always striving to meet the expectations of those who put their confidence in him.In politics, he was motivated, as I said, by the burning conviction that every individual has dignity and the potential to succeed if given a fair shot. And he was determined others would have those same opportunities that he had enjoyed. He understood that if you share the credit, if you don’t seek credit, you can get a lot more done. And that was how he operated.
A few years ago, I prevailed upon him to sit for about 20 hours of video-taped oral history, beca