Sen. Mike Johanns bid farewell to the United States Senate by acknowledging a “deep and sincere” appreciation for the people of Nebraska.
“They’ve entrusted me with the high privilege and the solemn responsibility of representing them in this body,” Johanns said to open his farewell address from the floor of the Senate in Washington. “I’m honored to have served as the Senator from Nebraska and I hope and I pray that I have done so in a manner that upholds the high standards that Nebraskans have rightly established for their elected officeholders.”
Johanns paid tribute to ordinary Nebraskans who have done extraordinary things during his farewell speech. Johanns said he has met heads of state, religious leaders, and celebrities during his time in office, but has been most touched by the actions of every day citizens; noting in particular two men who pulled children from a burning school bus in Blue Hill in 2012 and Pilger City Clerk who tended to the needs of the town’s residents in wake of the devastating tornado there this year.
Johanns also honored the parents of service men and women who died in uniform.
“I would call them to offer my condolences,” Johanns said, growing emotional. “And I have found their strength to be so astounding. To a person, they speak with such passion about love of country, pride in their loved one’s service, despite sorrow.”
Johanns said he knows he leaves even as some battles remain.
“I would be dishonest, Madam President, if I denied some feelings of frustration about the absence of will to address issues of paramount importance to our country,” Johanns stated. “But I know that no issue is powerful enough to shred the fabric of this great nation.”
Johanns decided against running for re-election and will leave public office after the term ends. Fellow Republican, Ben Sasse, will succeed him when sworn in next month.
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Johanns bids farewell to the U.S. Senate. Sen. Deb Fischer pays tribute to Johanns from Senate floor. [18:30]