Sen. Ben Nelson this afternoon bid his colleagues farewell.
“I rise today to thank the people of my great state of Nebraska,” Nelson said during his farewell address given from the floor of the United States Senate. “It has been a tremendous honor to have had the opportunity to serve the state for 20 years; eight as governor and 12 as United States Senator.”
Nelson at about this same time a year ago announced his intention to retire from public service, stepping down after two terms in the United States Senate rather than run for re-election. Republican Deb Fischer will replace Nelson in the Senate.
Nelson, a Democrat, said his retirement will give him more time with those who have sacrificed so he could pursue his political career.
“While it’s hard to walk away from this body, I must say that I’m looking forward to getting to spend more time with my family,” Nelson stated.
The speech was short, lasting slightly more than six-and-a-half minutes. In it, Nelson thanked the voters, his staff and his colleagues. He recalled work to bridge partisan differences and had a reminder for his colleagues.
“Congress needs to change its math,” Nelson said. “By that I mean members of Congress should be more concerned about addition and multiplication and less involved in division and subtraction that seems to overtake this institution at times.”
Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican, took to the Senate floor after Nelson’s speech to praise his colleague as a true public servant.
“I could tell you from firsthand experience that Ben Nelson always had the best interest of our state at heart,” according to Johanns. “He was enormously hard working.”
Johanns stated that Nelson always put partisanship aside to work in the best interest of Nebraska.
AUDIO: Sen. Ben Nelson’s farewell address to the United States Senate [6:40]
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Johanns pays tribute to Sen. Nelson during U.S. Senate floor speech. [2:20]