REMARKS OF SENATOR MICHAEL B. ENZI REGARDING THE RETIREMENT OF SENATOR BOB CORKER
Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize a member of the Senate who will be retiring at this end of this Congress, my colleague and friend, Senator Bob Corker. I’ve had the pleasure of serving in the Senate alongside Bob for close to 11 years and it’s been a privilege to work and join with him on a number of legislative efforts. Particularly, I am grateful for his diligent fiscal conservatism on the Budget Committee. I will miss working with him to address our nation’s fiscal issues.
Bob’s path to the U.S. Senate began at the young age of 25, when he founded his own construction company, which would eventually expand operations in over 18 states. He continued to polish his business acumen thereafter, acquiring two of the largest real estate companies in Chattanooga in 1999. As a testament to his success in business, he would later be inducted into the “Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame” at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Bob carried his business-oriented results-driven attitude with him when he ran for mayor in the scenic city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the turn of the millennium. As mayor, Bob excelled, delivering to Chattanooga denizens a lean and balanced city budget while also lowering the tax rate – among other noteworthy accomplishments. Bob’s path to Washington is one that we shared, I too was a business owner and a mayor before serving in the U.S. Senate.
Bob’s commitment to public service didn’t end in Chattanooga – far from it – his career was just beginning to take off. In 2006, he won one of the most competitive U.S. Senate races of the year. Incidentally, that was the year I met Bob. My initial impressions of him still hold true today: industrious and principled. Later I would realize our shared experiences as business owners and as mayors uniquely shaped our understanding of the proper role and scope of the federal government. Bob quickly ascended in Washington, becoming Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and making a name for himself on the Banking Committee. His reputation soon preceded him on a host of issue areas, including housing finance reform and strategic diplomacy abroad. He made his disagreements respectfully clear and stood up for what he believed was right. Evidently the people of Tennessee liked what they saw and handily elected him to a second term.
Bob should be incredibly proud of his work and tenure as Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee. His breadth of experience on the committee and visits to over 70 countries have provided his colleagues with invaluable institutional insight on the impact American leadership and diplomacy abroad continues to have on our economy and national security. The Electrify Africa Act is a significant achievement on the committee I would like to pay special homage to. The bill states it is the policy of the United States to promote first-time power services for at least 50 million people in sub-Sharan Africa by 2020. Having traveled to Africa myself and witnessed firsthand the severe shortage of electricity-generating infrastructure, I know that Bob’s bill was a noble one. He worked tirelessly on it before it was signed into law in 2015.
It is with these memories of his service that I watch him depart the Senate. His bold presence and tested leadership will be profoundly missed. The mark he has left on the institution will not be forgotten. My wife Diana joins me in sending our very best wishes and gratitude to Bob for his public service. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors and we are happy he will be able to spend more time with his wife Elizabeth and his three children. Bob, from one Sigma Chi alum to another, "In Hoc Signo Vinces”. May you continue to pursue a life of high ideals, noble purposes, and strong character.