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Mr. President, at the end of each session of the Congress, we, the Senate, take a moment to express our appreciation and acknowledge the efforts of those members who will be retiring in just a few weeks. This year one of our colleagues who will be leaving is Senator Jeff Flake. 

Jeff will be leaving us after a career of nearly 20 years in Congress. He has impressed many of us with whom he has worked with the strength of his views and determination to fight for those things in which he truly believes, both as a senator and a proud husband to his wife Cheryl and father to his five children. He has been a reliable advocate for what he sees as the best interests of Arizona and the future of the nation. He leaves behind a legacy of which he should be very proud.

Jeff was born in Snowflake, Arizona. His family name was well known to the people in his neighborhood in part because it was named for his great-great-grandfather, William J. Flake, an early pioneer. His family played an important role in the founding and day-to-day life of their town, and Jeff always embodied the pioneering spirit through his work in Congress.

After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a Master of Arts in Political Science, he took a two-year leave of absence to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Africa.

Jeff’s early career work as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Namibia and Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute helped prepare him for the House of Representatives. He became a strong voice for the political views of the people from back home.  

Several years later Arizona’s Senate seat was open and Jeff took up the challenge. The people of Arizona and our nation were fortunate to have him to rely on for so many issues. He has been a steady and dependable force for tackling difficult, complex, and occasionally unpopular issues in the Senate while remaining respectful of his fellow colleagues and loyal to Arizona.

As a senator, Jeff worked tirelessly to reduce the deficit and control government spending. As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, I sincerely appreciate his efforts and share the same goal of reducing waste and ensuring the government operates efficiently. His keen insight and attention to these critical issues will surely be missed in Congress. 

While serving with him in the Senate I also learned that Jeff is an avid survivalist. It was a pleasure to read about his excursions to small, distant islands with only a few key survivalist tools in tow. As an Eagle Scout, I understand how important these skills are to have, and it is always fun to hear about others putting these critical skills to use and what they learn along the way. If he would like to continue participating in survivalist adventures after leaving Congress, I would be happy to recommend some places in Wyoming that he might enjoy camping in for an extended period of time.

We both have a strong Western heartbeat that we express every day in everything we do. Diana joins in sending our best wishes to Jeff and his family and we thank him for his hard work and dedication to the state of Arizona and this country. I appreciate his willingness to serve and work so hard for what he believes in. He has helped encourage and inspire another generation of leaders. In that way and so many others he has made a positive difference.