Skip to content


May 15, 2019 

Mr. President, today I would like to honor the life and legacy of the late Senator Richard Lugar.

My colleagues and I in the Senate were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear colleague and friend. His selfless service and tireless dedication to the state of Indiana and this nation inspired many to follow in his footsteps and govern using his principled commitment to the rule of law and desire for constructive compromise. 

From an early age, Senator Lugar understood the value of hard work and dedication to what was important. He became an Eagle Scout and was valedictorian of his class in both high school and college. Later a Rhodes Scholar at the prestigious University of Oxford in England, Senator Lugar’s commitment to his education served him very well later in his career as a distinguished statesman.  

As a fellow Eagle Scout, Senator Lugar knew that the knowledge and skills gained in scouting always have a use and are a central part of the Boy Scout motto “be prepared.” He learned early on the importance of core scouting values like trust, loyalty, courtesy and reverence. He displayed these values not only in his nearly four decade-long career in the Senate, but also as a loving husband and father to his wife Charlene and four sons.

These critical skills also served him well as the Mayor of Indianapolis. As a former Mayor myself, I know the need for every citizen to play an active role in the day-to-day life of their towns and cities. Senator Lugar understood this too, and the value in working together to make our cities, states, and nation better places. As Mayor, he envisioned the unification of the city of Indianapolis with the surrounding Marion County – and he did it – ushering in steady, uninterrupted economic growth for the region.

In a nearly four-decade long career in the Senate, it is difficult to pinpoint Senator Lugar’s greatest achievements. However, I think it’s safe to say that some of his most important work came as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Under his steady leadership and acute attention to detail, the committee considered critical issues at a milestone in the future of world diplomacy and democracy. Senator Lugar’s contributions were instrumental in, as its name suggests, the formation of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threats Reduction Program in 1991, intended to dismantle nuclear warheads at the close of the Cold War.

This program was enacted at a critical moment in the Soviet Union’s dissolvent. If action was not taken by Congress at this important juncture, dangerous nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union could have been at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

These efforts laid the groundwork for the implementation of future programs that are responsible for dismantling hundreds of nuclear warheads, biological weapons and dangerous missiles. Quite simply, Senator Lugar’s work changed the course of history and worked toward a safer world for the generations that followed.  

I had the honor of working with Senator Lugar on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. He was instrumental in the origination and reauthorization of President Bush’s program, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR for short. PEPFAR was life-changing legislation for those stricken with potentially fatal diseases like HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Unlike many foreign assistance programs which do not impact those directly on the ground, PEPFAR taught people how to avoid contracting the HIV/AIDS disease and provided countries with the ability to care for their citizens who were already infected. 

Senator Lugar was also a committed man of faith. A member of the United Methodist Church, his moral compass was guided strongly by his faith. He was always one to do what he thought was right rather than what was easiest.

The United States is a better place because of Senator Lugar’s tireless service and commitment to what is right. My wife Diana and I send our deepest condolences to his loved ones and know he will find eternal peace and happiness knowing he had a profound effect on all that knew him as a colleague, as a father and as a friend.   

Mr. President, I yield the floor.