December 12th, 2012
01:59 PM ET
10 years ago

Senators say goodbye

(CNN) - With the 112th Congress coming to an end, several senators gave their farewell remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday.

As they depart, many of them touched on a need for bipartisanship or reflected on key pieces of legislation they helped pass. See some of the highlights after the jump.

Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts
– Elected in 2010 in a special election
– Defeated in the general election by Democrat Elizabeth Warren

"To think that someone like me whose parents were married four times each, lived in 17 houses by the time he was 18 and was subjected to various forms of abuse growing up still has the honor to serve in one of the greatest deliberative bodies in the world is something I will soon not forget."

"If you run for office, you've got to be able to take victory or defeat in a gracious manner. I do respect the judgment of the voters. I accept their decision in this election with the same attitude and sense of appreciation that I held when I arrived here in this chamber almost three years ago."

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
– Elected in 1993 in a special election (three full terms)
– Retiring
– Successor: Republican Senator-elect Ted Cruz

Hutchison grew emotional while sharing a story about the homemaker IRA bill she championed with Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

"I went to Barbara I said `Barbara, it is a Democratic Senate. I will make this bill Mikulski-Hutchison to get it passed.' Senator Mikulski said `not on your life. It will be Hutchison-Mikulski because it is your idea.' And she worked just as hard as if it were the reverse. That says more about the Senator from Maryland than anything I could say. And thank you Barbara for introducing the bill that would name it for me because I know it will help women long after I leave."

“When I think back of the things that we have been able to accomplish, and it’s not that just because we were women and we were here, but in a deliberative body where you have one hundred people representing 50 very different states, its not that the men are against anything that we have teamed up to do, it is that because of our experiences that we bring to the table, sometimes it wasn’t thought of before.”

Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana
– Elected in 1976 (six full terms)
– Defeated in the GOP primary by Republican Richard Mourdock
– Successor: Democrat Joe Donnelly

"Too often we have failed to listen to one another and question whether the orthodox views being promulgated by our parties makes strategic sense for America's future. The result has been intractably negative public perceptions of Congress."

"Having seen quite a few periods in the Congress when political struggles were portrayed in this way, I hesitate to describe our current state as the most partisan ever, but I do believe that as an institution, we have not lived up to the expectations of our constituents to make excellence in governance our top priority."

Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii

– Elected in 1990 (three full terms)
– Retiring
– Successor: Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono

"Hawaii has so much, I believe, to teach the world and this institution, and Congress and in our nation. We are truly all together in the same canoe. If we paddle together in unison we can travel great distances. If the two sides of the canoe paddle in opposite directions, we will go in circles. I urge my colleagues to take this traditional Hawaiian symbol to heart and put the American people first by working together."

Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota
– Elected in 1986 (four full terms)
– Retiring
– Successor: Democrat Heidi Heitkamp will fill his seat

"We have this long tradition in the Senate of senators giving farewell remarks. I want to alert colleagues that mine will be especially long so you might want to go have lunch and then come back. I don't consider this my final speech because I am still hopeful that we will reach an agreement on a farm bill. The distinguished chair is here. I hope we can reach agreement on averting the fiscal cliff because that is important to the country."

Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut
– Elected in 1988 (four full terms)
– Caucuses with Democrats
– Retiring
– Successor: Democrat Chris Murphy

"I am of course filled with many emotions, but the one that I feel most is gratitude. Gratitude first to God–creator of life and law, without whose loving kindness, nothing would be possible. Gratitude to America, this extraordinary land of opportunity, which has given someone like me so many opportunities. Gratitude to the people of Connecticut who have entrusted me with the privilege of public service for 40 years, the last 24 in the U.S. Senate. Gratitude to my Senate colleagues whom I've come to know as friends and with whom it has been such an honor to serve."

"While there is still much work to do and many problems to be solved, I believe we can and should approach our future with a confidence that is based on the real and substantial progress that we've made together. What's required now is to solve the urgent problems we still have. And what's really required to do that is leadership. Leadership of a kind that's never easy or common but which we as Americans know we can summon in times of need because we've summoned it before. Today I regret to say as I leave the Senate that the greatest obstacle that I see standing in between us and the brighter American future that we all want is right here in Washington. It's the partisan polarization of our politics."

SEE MORE: Retiring lawmaker reflect

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Daniel Akaka • Dick Lugar • Kay Bailey Hutchison • Kent Conrad • North Dakota • Scott Brown • Senate
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sad to see Sen. Lugar go. But alot of moderates like him have been given the boot from the republican party. As Charlie Crist has stated, "I didn't leave the republican party, the republican party left me." And as long as their are TEAtards, they will bring about the demise of the republican party.

    December 12, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. carlos

    Regardless of party affiliation, I say: Thank you for having served, all the best and Happy Holidays.

    December 12, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    Lugar was a staunch conservative who I rarely agreed with, but at least he was honorable and knew how to do his job- not like the current crop of teehadists who only want to corrupt our government.

    December 12, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. 2012liberal

    Hope moderate rep give teaparty the bird as they leave and get taxes raised 4 top 2% with the discharge petetion.

    December 12, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. PostGOP_USA

    Go home and pass away, grumpy old men.

    Time for real politicians to start playing, instead of these "Centrist" losers who sold us out to Wall St for the last 30 years.

    Compromise shouldn't be a dirty word, but there is no such thing as a "moderate" politician.
    If he doesn't support either party, then he is supporting special interests.

    December 12, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Let's Move Forward

    Thamks to all of you for your service to our country. Rest, relax, enjoy your time with your families. You will like your life as a private citizen, less stress and more enjoyable.

    December 12, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. MeapersoninUS

    Agree with carlos. Thank you for serving this country, hope all your holidays are good. Happy new year.

    December 12, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Who will be the last moderate Republican standing after the Tea Party/social conservative purge?

    December 12, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |