WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman today delivered a Senate floor speech lauding the 35 years of public service Sen. Pete Domenici has given to the people of New Mexico. The text of the speech, delivered this morning:
“Mr. President, we have all seen the news that our friend and colleague, Pete Domenici, is planning to announce today that he will retire from the Senate at the conclusion of this term. Sen. Domenici called me yesterday afternoon to tell me of his decision. My reaction was one of surprise which gave way to admiration and appreciation for this man’s decision to conclude his distinguished career of public service on his own terms.
“He and his wife, Nancy, are traveling to Albuquerque this morning for the announcement this afternoon. This is a great gesture for the people of New Mexico. There the Domenicis will be greeted with the affection and respect they richly deserve.
“When I arrived in the Senate in 1983, Pete Domenici, a 10-year veteran of this place, was here to welcome me. In his 35 years in the Senate, Pete has earned a reputation as a fierce and effective champion for New Mexico. While he and I have not agreed on some issues, I have never questioned his commitment to do what he believed was right for our state, and our country.
“Today, and during his entire Senate career, Pete has achieved what all of us try to achieve -- that is, to be effective in getting results in Washington while also staying close to the people who have sent us here to represent them.
“Pete and I, of course, have worked together on many issues and projects, but our most productive collaboration has been on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. For the last few years, he has been the most senior Republican and I have been the most senior Democrat. In the last Congress, when Pete was Chairman of our committee and I was the ranking Democrat, we were able to secure passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Pete deserves substantial credit for the passage of that important legislation.
“Senator Domenici’s announcement today is not -- I am glad to say -- that he is leaving the Senate at this time. His announcement will be that he will serve out his term, but he will not stand for election to another. He has assured me that he expects the remaining 15 months of his service to be productive. Knowing Pete, I am sure that it will.
“There will be time later for valedictories. For today, we will listen to Sen. Domenici’s announcement and send our thanks and best wishes to him and Nancy.”
-- 30 --