Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday paid tribute on the Senate floor to Senator Bob Corker, saying he “is always a man on a mission with little regard of the obstacles in the way.”
As an example of that, Senator Alexander told the story about how Senator Corker was curious about smuggling supplies from Egypt to Gaza, so he hailed a Jeep, rode to the border, inspected the tunnels, took photographs and showed them to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when they met that afternoon.
“The prime minister might have been surprised by Bob Corker’s conduct, but none of us who knew Bob Corker were surprised,” Senator Alexander said.
Senator Alexander, who noted he has known Bob Corker for 25 years, referenced the senator’s many accomplishments, including his stint as mayor of Chattanooga: “Now, he (Corker) would be the first to tell you that Chattanooga was already on a roll -- that a lot of people had a lot to do with Chattanooga's success -- but everybody else will tell you that he was the best, fastest runner to have on the last stage of the relay team because he took what was already beginning to happen in Chattanooga and put it into high gear. Bob laid the groundwork for what eventually attracted Volkswagen to put his North American manufacturing plant there, and to have the country generally regard Chattanooga as one of the most, if not the most, desirable mid-sized cities in America.”
He also said, “Bob was elected to the United States Senate in 2006 – he has voted with the majority of Republican senators 85 percent of the time, but he always has been a conservative who prizes results over speeches.
“Bob and I followed the old rule that Senators Howard Baker and Robert Byrd followed -- I won’t surprise you if you won’t surprise me. We not only didn't surprise each other, we looked out for each other. We respected each other's work even though we didn't always agree. Our staffers saw that, so they worked the same way, and I'm convinced the people of the state of Tennessee were the beneficiaries of that because when they approached either the Corker staff or the Alexander staff, I think they found that one plus one equals three, not two.”
Senator Alexander said, “Peyton Manning once said that he hoped Bob Corker would serve in the United States Senate until he was 100 years old – I think that was really to get people to quit asking Peyton Manning to run for the United States Senate because he knew better than to get involved. While I am looking forward to working with Marsha Blackburn, who is Bob Corker’s successor, I will have to admit that I agreed with Peyton Manning. Bob Corker has done as a United States senator what every Tennessean – and every American – should hope a United States senator would do. He's gotten up early determined to find some way to make the country a little better, talked to anybody on the telephone who he thought knew anything about the issue he cared about, jumped into it with both feet saying exactly what he thought was the right thing to do for the country and usually coming out with a result that did just that.
"It's been a privilege to serve with him, and I look forward to watching what has to be one of the best upcoming shows in town, which will be whatever Bob Corker decides to do next.”