Floor and Committee Statements

Mr. President, at this precise minute and in this precise hour in Jacksonville, Florida, countless friends and admirers are gathering to pay tribute to Tillie Fowler. It is only fitting and proper that in this chamber, this Congress do the same.

For me personally, it is more than just the loss of a colleague. I served with Tillie's dad, Culver Kidd, a state senator in Georgia for years when I served in the legislature. Colorful and distinguished, a leading citizen. Her brother, Rusty, is a warm and trusted friend. Her daughter Tillie worked for me the first four years I served in the United States House of Representatives. And I honor, admire and respect her loving husband, Buck, who together with Tillie has meant so much to me personally in my career.

I know the Bible teaches us in the book and chapter of Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything. A time to live and a time to die. But there are some times that it is so difficult to accept the loss of one so vibrant and so important not only to their community but to the country. And such is the case with Tillie Fowler. But I know that her family, who's gathered at this moment in Jacksonville, Florida, would want us in this Senate and us in this Congress, in this building today, to pay tribute to the legacy of Tillie Fowler.

An accomplished attorney, a loving wife, a devoted mother, a committed public servant of the people she represented, an honored member of the United States House of Representatives. A lady who became the highest elected woman in leadership in the Congress of the United States at the time she ascended to the position of Vice Chairman of the Republican Conference in the majority of the United States House.

Respected by both sides of the aisle as the most formidable and knowledgeable member of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives. One who had the temperament and the ability to calm the waves of partisanship and point to the direction that we all know that we should go and one that would always stop to help regardless of the need of an individual.

In fact, Mr. President, on Tuesday of this week, just one day after she was stricken, I was to have had an appointment in my office in the Russell Office Building with Tillie Fowler. Obviously, because of her illness she could not come, but the person she was going to introduce me to could, and only Tillie Fowler would have sent to me the new director of the largest, public charity hospital in Georgia and the largest trauma center in our state, because she was spending part of her time trying to see to it that those who help others got help themselves.

Mr. President, it was an honor for me to serve in the House with Tillie Fowler. It is a privilege to stand here in this Senate and pay tribute to our colleague. On behalf of all the members of this Senate, we extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to all of her extended family.