Remarks Honoring Congressman Joe Skeen
it is with great sadness that I rise to pay tribute to former Congressman
Skeen of New Mexico, who passed away this week after a long battle
with Parkinson's disease. Joe was a good friend and a dedicated
public servant, and we will miss him terribly.
"Joe Skeen was a gentleman in the finest sense of the word.
He treated everyone with respect and offered his friendship to all.
The entire Congress would agree that Joe's character was of the
highest quality. He had a wonderful sense of humor.
"Joe was a man of his district. Born and raised in New Mexico,
he understood and worked for rural America. A sheep and cattle rancher,
he understood the needs of his district--including schools, utilities,
health care, and the many other particular requirements of a rural
area--and he always fought to meet those needs. His attention to
his district is just part of why his constituents made him the longest-serving
Member of the House of Representatives from New Mexico.
"It was my good fortune to serve with Joe on the Appropriations
Committee, where he served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on
Interior. It was on the Appropriations Committee that I learned
how special he was. Throughout the often difficult process of writing
and passing Appropriations bills, Joe was always known for his fairness
and civility. He listened to his colleagues and tried to respond
to their needs.
"Since his retirement last year, we have missed Joe in the
Congress. He always put his country ahead of party and desired accomplishments
for the American people most of all. He cared about the House of
Representatives as an institution and about bipartisanship as a
noble part of our work here. He elevated the character of the House
of Representatives, and we are so grateful for his service here.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Mary, and their
two children, Elisa and Mikell. I hope it is a comfort to them that
so many people share their loss and are praying for them at this