Floor and Committee Statements

“Mr. President, four years ago, about this time of the night on a Monday, I made a speech about Woody Woodside. Four years later, I make another speech about Woody Woodside.

“Four years ago, I acknowledged his 30 years of service to the people of Brunswick, Ga., Glynn County, the chamber of commerce, and two members of Congress for whom he worked over the years. Tonight, I praise him for 34 years of service and for the fact that he is going to retire later this year.

“It is time for me to say that Woody Woodside is one of the most unique individuals who all of us know in our State. He is someone who is always there when there is a problem to be worked on. He is always there with a positive attitude. He is somebody who always thinks of a way to fix a problem. He is somebody who doesn’t call to complain but calls to be a help.

“Woody is a great man. He is a great friend. I have known him and his beautiful wife, Ellen, for a long time. They have a beautiful family. Their daughter, Mary Gould, is a wonderful lady. They lost their young son, Jay, a few years ago when he passed away. He was one of the finest kids I ever met. He worked here in Washington a couple of times. Once, he worked a short time for me.

“He had the spirit that his father has and his mother has--the spirit of can-do, the spirit of loving his community, the spirit of being a good human being.

“Woody is interesting, and he is unique. He went to the Citadel and served in the U.S. Army and Georgia Army National Guard. Woody did a lot of work in Congress. He worked for 11 years for ‘Bo’ Ginn, a congressman from Georgia, who later ran for the governor of Georgia. For three years, he also worked for Lindsay Thomas, another former congressman. So he had 14 years of work in the Congress of the United States before he went home to Brunswick and Golden Isles.

“The Brunswick Golden Isles is a very unique place. You have the Sea Island Company that developed Sea Island, which is one of the finest four-star resorts anywhere. You have fishing, which is an industry that serves our state so well. We only have 123 miles of shoreline, but we have lots of fish, we have lots of crabs, and we have lots of shrimp. It is a great industry for our state and a great, prosperous industry for that part of our state. The Golden Isles is a very unique place, for it is the estuary of the Atlantic Ocean. It is where the food chain starts. If there were no Brunswick and if there were no marshes or glens, there would be no food chain; there would be no fish or wildlife.

“This is a pristine area that we have worked for years to preserve and maintain by passing wetlands bills, by passing clean water bills, by doing all of the things you need to do to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep the water clean and to keep that industry viable. Woody was not just a chamber leader because he had to do it, but as a citizen, he wanted to do it. Woody is a leader and has been a leader for clean water and for the coastline to be clean and for the industries that depend on the ocean and the sea and for that part of our state.

“We have a lot of chamber presidents in our state. We have 159 counties, so I imagine we have 159 chamber presidents. That is a lot. We have no one who is more active or more involved in his state activities or his local activities than Woody Woodside. Of our state chamber of commerce, he has been an officer and adviser for years. He has been on more economic development councils than have most governors. He is outspoken, not to a fault but to a critical need when we need him to say what he needs to say for all of the right reasons. For years, he has been selected as one of the most outstanding Georgians by Georgia Trend magazine.

“All in all, he is the whole package. He is outstanding; he is smart; he is likable; he loves government and what government can do as a partner with the private sector. I love him as a friend. So, in knowing that Woody is going to retire this year, I take this time to say: Woody, you have been special for lots of reasons.

“I do lots of these at the requests of chambers of commerce for people I know, in some cases, but for whom, most of the time, I don’t know. They are hard to do. It is hard to find something that is the right thing to say about somebody you don’t know. I know Woody Woodside. I know his heart and I know his record and I know what he has done.

“Woody, you have been everything a person could ask for. You and your wife are everything we could ask for as leaders. You are a wonderful human being, a great American, and a great Georgian.

“May God bless you and your family in your retirement. Thank you for your service to our state for many, many years.

“I yield the floor.”