Tuesday, July 30, 2019

WATCH: Sen. McSally Begins and Ends "Maiden Speech" With the Late Sen. John McCain

Arizona Senator Martha McSally delivered her "maiden speech"* on the Senate floor this afternoon, and opened and closed it with a reference to and a quote from the late Senator John McCain.

Her closing also echoed one of her better-known quotes, when she urged her colleagues to join her and "let's get to work for the nation."

McSally noted in her opening that she is "humbled" to have been named to replace McCain. And, she ended her speech by quoting him: "Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history!"

McSally's bookending with McCain is somewhat notable because of her past attempts to weave between President Donald Trump's well-documented dislike for McCain and both her and Arizona's relationship for the longtime Arizona Senator (and GOP Presidential nominee in 2008).

Sen. Sinema delievered her maiden speech last week. It will be posted later today. (Corrected to reflect that Sen. Sinema gave her maiden speech last week.)

Below the jump is the text of the speech, as provided by the Senator's office:

McSally’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Madam President, I rise today to give my maiden speech as the 14th Senator to represent our great state of Arizona.
It is an honor to be serving Arizona in the United States Senate and humbling to be appointed to serve in the seat held by Senator John McCain. Like most of my life, I didn’t take the traditional path, but I am blessed to have been given this opportunity to make a difference for others and stand in this historic chamber today. 
I love Arizona--the Grand Canyon state—its people and our spirit. Like many Arizonans, I wasn’t born there, so this was a love of choice.  Also like many Arizonans, I first came to the state on a military assignment in the summer of 1990 to attend pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, now home to a thriving industry park called Mesa Gateway. 
I fell in love with Arizona right away and was fortunate to have the majestic view from the sky as a pilot. What a privilege to live in a land of adventure that I had only read about as a kid, home to one of the 7 natural wonders of the world in the Grand Canyon, and our diverse landscapes, mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers, sunsets, and powerful desert lightning.
After an assignment away, I came back to Arizona to fly the A-10 Warthog at Davis Monthan Air Force Base. I can tell you from experience that there is nothing quite like finishing a demanding training mission on the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range and having a near heavenly view of Arizona’s beautiful red sunsets.
It isn’t only our climate and beautiful landscapes that make Arizona a great place to live and work. We Arizonans are known for our fierce independence, resilience, heartiness, hard work, faith, and diversity. It’s this legacy of service and patriotism that transcends generations.
They say the best comes last, and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to Arizona. We were the last in the continental U.S. to become a state in 1912, and have a history of attracting adventurous hard-working people, seeking to live out their dreams.
Our state motto is “Ditat Deus” or “God enriches,” highlighting the importance of faith in God in our past and future.
The original foundation of our economy is known as the “Five C’s”— Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Climate.  Today we still have Morenci Mine, the largest copper producer in North America, which I recently visited.
Arizona has made history in its own unique way. We are known around the world for the famous town of Tombstone and the legendary OK Corral. We gave women the right to vote 8 years before the whole nation and are the proud home of Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman ever to serve on the U.S Supreme Court. 
Arizona has always proudly hosted and supported our troops and remains crucial for our defense. Our vast open land, beautiful weather and airspace makes our state a national security treasure and Arizonans have always answered the call to serve in uniform and support our vets. 
Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes and has the largest percentage of tribal geography of any state. The Old Oraibi Hopi Village is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the country, started around 1000 AD. Piestewa Peak is named after Specialist Lori Ann Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat while on foreign soil while serving in the U.S. military. 
Arizona has a history of punching above our weight with elected leaders. Carl Hayden was our first congressman turned Senator who served 56 years, and secured funding for the Central Arizona project to support our water needs. Raul Castro was the first Latino Governor of Arizona and served as U.S. Ambassador to multiple countries. And we are home to two Senate heavyweights Barry Goldwater who served five terms and John McCain who served six terms in this Chamber.
I approach this opportunity to serve in the U.S. Senate the same way I approached my 26 years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot, and 4 years in the House of Representatives.  I lost my father as a 12-year-old, so my life was shaped early on to treat each day as a gift.  In the hospital shortly before he died, my Dad told me to make him proud.
My journey to this chapter of service has not been an easy one.  But I learned from my Dad, and my Mom who was left behind with 5 kids—that hard work, education, faith, and a mindset of service to others are unfailing foundations for any endeavor in life. 
When I retired from the Air Force, having served in both peace and war, I gave a speech and shared some principles and lessons I learned along the way that still ring true today for this new deployment here to the Senate. 
First, know your oath. The oath I took January 3rd as a U.S. Senator is the same oath—the same exact wording—as the one I took as a military officer. 
The oath, and what it represents, is what those of us who served in the military were willing to fight for--and if necessary--die for.  During my 8-year battle with the Pentagon over their policy--requiring U.S. servicewomen to be treated like property and wear Muslim burqa like coverings when off base in Saudi Arabia—I often felt alone and discouraged. There was extraordinary pressure telling the top 4-star brass that they were outrageously wrong. And me, a low-ranking major had every reason to believe my career would be cut short for taking on the establishment over what I believed was wrong. 
At the most anguishing moments in that long fight, I had to ground myself with that oath I swore and why I placed service above self.  We were taught as cadets and officers that moral courage means doing the right thing, even if it comes at a great personal cost to you. Trust me, I was tested, but stayed the course. Subsequently, I sued Donald Rumsfeld—which we all can probably agree on both sides of the aisle was not the best career move! Nonetheless, I went on a one-woman lobbying campaign as a regular citizen which led to legislation being passed unanimously, signed into law, and resulted in overturning the demeaning discriminatory policy.  It took 8 years to win what was by all measures so right. I credit that oath. It gave me purpose. It gave me power. It enabled one woman opposed by the entire Department of Defense to endure and as a result---change the world. 
So, this is how I plan to serve Arizona in the Senate—standing up for what is right in the same fighting spirit that comes with living up to my oath of service.
Next, the question is if this is a job, a career, or a calling? A job brings in a paycheck, provides certainty and pays the bills. A career can sound noble at its surface, but if someone is only focused on their career path and advancement—they can purposely or inadvertently step on others, not be a good teammate, not rock the boat to do the right thing, and make decisions based on fear. A career focus can foster risk aversion and selfish motives. A calling, however, is being a part of something greater than yourself.
Just like my time in uniform, I approach my time here in the Senate also as a calling for this season and moment in time.  I get up every day with the focus of what can I do today to make a difference for Arizonans.
Next, “don’t walk by a problem.” It is part of military culture that if you are complaining about something, you better be willing to step up and do something about it. God puts us in certain circumstances in order for us to use our energy and talents to make a difference for others. That’s how I went from yelling at the TV in my living room to delivering this speech in this hallowed Chamber today. 
As I learned from my Dad’s untimely passing, if these two years are the last two years in my life – what will I do with them? How can I make this time truly meaningful for those I represent?
The Senate was created to be the world’s most deliberative body and designed to be methodical in nature. But it wasn’t designed for anonymous holds or partisan bickering to score cheap political points or for clicks on stories and homepages on Drudge or the Huffington Post. I built a reputation in the House for being a pragmatic problem solver who understands why constituents send people to Washington: to work together, to increase opportunity and prosperity for everyday Americans, and to take a stand when an action goes against their best interest. Far too often, too many elected officials here lose sight of that goal.
During my retirement ceremony from my 26-year service in the Air Force, I concluded with this quote from renowned fighter pilot John Boyd:
“One day you will come to a fork in the road. And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something — something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be, or to do? Which way will you go?”
That question is what should be posed to all 100 of us who serve in this Chamber today. It’s no secret that my path is to take action and do something. And I would ask my fellow Senators to join me to do something with this precious time we have been given. And, already I know so many of you feel the same, and are driven to serve, and point in the direction of “do.”
You know, only 1,983 people have served as U.S. Senators. How many can you name? As for me, but a fraction. Except for a few extraordinary exceptions, no one is going to remember our names when we are no longer here.  We will go back to being regular citizens. So, it’s about service, not self—to do something that matters.
Arizonans, like people all over this country, are tired of the gridlock and want Congress to work for them, not the other way around.  Many people here want to protect this institution, but the American people have basically lost faith in these bodies and in those serving in them. 
Our approval rating is pathetically low, and is likely credited to family members and paid staff. To point in the direction John Boyd’s challenge of doing something, we must commit today to stop the dysfunction, to break the grid lock. Stop spinning, stop obstructing, and start truly working on behalf of the American people. 
Yes, we live in divided times, but there is always more that unites us than divides us. 
Since I took the oath on January 3rd, my first mission in the Senate was to visit all 15 counties in Arizona to listen to my constituents’ priorities and challenges.  It was a “2 ears and 1 mouth” tour—used proportionally! Despite the diversity of our state, there was tremendous common ground on so many major issues and priorities. 
Arizonans want to us to promote policies to ensure if they work hard, they will be able to provide for their families, get ahead, and meet their full potential. 
They want to make sure our country is safe for them and their children. They want a life of dignity and respect for one another. They want us to give our military men and women what they need to do the mission, and take care of them and their families when they become veterans.
Which is why I will continue to fight to protect the A-10 Warthog at Davis Monthan AFB and fight for the F-35 program at Luke AFB plus our other amazing military bases and their unique missions. And why, since taking office, I have visited numerous veteran service organizations like U.S. VETS—where I heard real stories from veterans who struggled with homelessness and addiction, who have since been helped off the street and have been able to start a new life for themselves.
Arizonans want us to solve the border crisis and stop playing political games with it. A crisis all too real for cities like Yuma, Arizona where I saw firsthand the place where over 300 migrants illegally crossed the border due to poor infrastructure and lack of resources for agents. Or like Douglas and Nogales where outdated facilities leave agents overwhelmed with volume and leave our country vulnerable to the illegal trafficking of drugs and people.
Arizonans want us work together to bring down the out of pocket costs of health care and allow patients, families, and doctors--not the government or insurance companies--to make health care choices for them. We can do this by protecting pre-existing conditions and supporting initiatives like Association Health Plans which allow groups like the Southern Arizona Chamber of Commerce Association to partner small businesses together to access health insurance options that normally only large companies could access.
Lives will be saved with the medical innovation that is happening in our state. Arizona is home to many institutions that are leading the way to find new treatments and cures for deadly diseases. 
When I visited the Ivy Brain Tumor Center, I was inspired by the story of Catherine Ivy, whose husband Ben passed away from glioblastoma—the same deadly cancer that took the life of Senator McCain. Instead of being consumed with her grief, Catherine searched all over the world for the best place to invest and partner for groundbreaking innovation to conquer this disease. She found it at the Barrow Neurological Institute right there in her own state of Arizona. Dr. Nader Sanai and his team are doing amazing work and leading in cutting edge research and clinical trials. We need more investment and less barriers for initiatives like these.
Arizonans want us to continue to tackle the opioid epidemic that is disproportionately impacting our rural communities. During my 15-county tour, I met Jason Kouts, the Mayor of Safford, who shared the senseless death of his son Josiah who his family lost to an opioid addiction. His life and all its potential tragically ended with a fentanyl-laced heroin dose. We mourn for his family and pledge to end this crisis.
Arizonans want us to smartly invest in infrastructure for the long haul, not in a one size fits all approach. What they need in New Jersey is not what we need in Arizona. We need flexibility and partnership with states. Cities in both the West and East Valley of Maricopa County have been tasked with the daunting feat of keeping up with the fastest population growth in the country but not the resources to modernize their streets and freeways. We need bipartisan solutions to modernize our infrastructure, including water infrastructure and rural broadband.
Arizonans want us to ensure that our freedoms and opportunities are preserved for their children and grandchildren. They want us to ensure seniors can have retirement security after working their whole lives. 
We can solve some of these problems in the days ahead if we choose to work together—if we collectively choose to do something bigger for those we serve.
At this moment in history, as John Boyd said, we are at a fork in the road and we have a choice.  Be someone or do something.  I choose to act for those I serve. I know you do also. So, let’s get to work—for the nation.
As Senator McCain once said: “Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history; we make history."
Madam President, I yield the floor.

*The "maiden speech" is a Senate tradition, and refers to the first speeches given by Senators both male and female. It does not mean that they have not previously spoken on the Senate floor addressing specific bills.

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