Retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, the Republican from Missouri who has had a half-century career in politics, gave his farewell address on the Senate floor this week.
In his remarks, Blunt thanked Missouri voters for entrusting him over the decades with his roles in government, from the local level as Greene County clerk up to Congress as both a U.S. representative and senator.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said Blunt’s accomplishments in politics were the result of “focus, detail-mindedness and a rare knack for broader strategy and management.”
In remarks on the Senate floor this week, McConnell also credited Blunt with bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into the Midwest for infrastructure improvements, increasing workforce opportunities for veterans and championing mental health services and resources.
“Time and again, our capable and trusted colleague has wound up in the middle of high-stakes, high-profile work. Yet Roy remains the same humble and approachable Show-Me Stater who first got into this business to help his neighbors,” McConnell said.
Although Blunt was thanking his constituents for their support, it is the residents of Southwest Missouri who will always be grateful to Blunt, a native of this corner of the state, for always keeping us on his list of priorities. He was a familiar face and frequent visitor to the Joplin area, regularly meeting with area colleges and universities, hospitals and businesses. He listened to residents’ concerns and issues and took that feedback to Washington, D.C. We appreciate the fact that the senator was always willing and available to talk to this paper.
His impact on Joplin and the state is almost too great to be told in the space allowed here.
He brought back funding to Missouri over the years for research into alternative and renewable sources of energy, culminating in his name being placed on the MARET Center at Crowder College in Neosho. He was a strong supporter of AmeriCorps, the federal volunteer program that was instrumental in helping Joplin recover and rebuild after the May 2011 tornado.
Blunt has been a leader on behalf of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, or RAWA, which would inject billions of dollars into wildlife protection efforts. He also has led on funding and expansion of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics to address mental health needs.
We’re also appreciative of Blunt’s ability to see past political parties to work with the other side of the aisle to get things done. It is a lesson we encourage others to emulate.
“We don’t have to agree on everything to work together,” Blunt said in his speech. “We just have to find one thing.”
He was unafraid to fight for the policies and programs important to him, but he also, crucially, recognized when it was time for compromise. He found common ground on many issues with a number of Democratic senators in order to push bipartisan legislation across the finish line.
As Blunt’s time in the Senate comes to a close next month, he leaves behind a blueprint for the way we believe political figures should behave, speak and act — with civility, integrity, thoughtfulness, openness, respect toward others, a firm understanding of the Constitution and a willingness to be held accountable to voters.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., was quoted as saying: “I don’t think Missouri yet understands their loss by not having Roy Blunt here. But I do understand this: that there are 99 other members of the Senate that understand what the Senate will lose with Roy Blunt’s decision to retire.”
Trust us, we know and are saddened by the loss.
Thank you, Sen. Blunt, for your service to Missouri. Enjoy your well-earned retirement.
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