McConnell Honors Retiring Senator Roy Blunt

‘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.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO):

“My friend and our distinguished colleague Roy Blunt is one of us whose political careers began at the most local level. As a 20-some-year-old county clerk, Roy’s career in government required real, hands-on public service from the very beginning.

“Fortunately, hard work and rolled-up sleeves weren’t foreign concepts for Roy. After all, before our friend became the first in his family to finish college, he grew up on a dairy farm. And for decades now, that doggedness and persistence have served Roy’s neighbors exceptionally well.

“Greene County’s young Clerk, a former high school history teacher, fell short in his first campaign for higher statewide office. But a few years later, he handily became the first Republican Secretary of State Missouri had seen in half a century.

“After eight years there and then four as a university president, Roy was already a seasoned veteran, firing on all cylinders, when he arrived in the House of Representatives in 1997. Little wonder that, after just three terms, Roy became the newest Representative to be voted House Majority Whip in 80 years.

“So clearly, Roy had a big-time reputation for getting things done before he moved across the Rotunda here to the Senate. When he won his election in 2010, all his colleagues knew our team was getting an all-star. And sure enough, if six years from freshman status to House leadership set a modern land-speed record on that side of the Capitol, then over here, Roy broke the sound barrier! He joined our Conference’s leadership team one year after he became a Senator.

“The record of accomplishments Roy’s racked up reflects the fusion of focus, detail-mindedness, and a rare knack for broader strategy and management.

“Time after time, Senator Blunt has thrown himself into the weeds of policy, achieved total fluency in the details, and then climbed back up to 30,000 feet to make strategic decisions that would actually move the ball forward.

“Case in point: I believe Roy’s the only Rules Committee chair in history to have actually served as his state’s top elections official. He knows the ins and outs of voting issues as well as anyone. 

He knows that the federal role in our elections is both important and very limited. He understands the big picture, the fine details, and everything in between.

“The leaders of Rules also have huge organizational and ceremonial duties as the Capitol organizes the Presidential Inauguration every four years. I have it on good authority that in both 2017 and 2021, when Roy headed up the ceremonies, our resident history buff handwrote every word of his speeches himself, longhand. Names, dates, historical references, quotations — all straight from his pen, and it all passed his team’s careful fact-checking without a drop of red ink.

“Now, those ceremonial duties bear mentioning in part because taking center stage is such a departure from the way Roy normally tackles his business.

“Working methodically and diligently, building consensus behind the scenes, Missouri’s Senior Senator has steered hundreds of millions of dollars toward improving transportation infrastructure at the crossroads of the American heartland. He’s reached across the aisle repeatedly to improve workforce development for American veterans. He’s worked tirelessly to protect the integrity of our electoral systems.

“And perhaps most important of all, Roy’s had a direct, generational impact on the future of cutting-edge American medicine. He spent years building the transformational new consensus that became the Excellence in Mental Health Act. His work to equip researchers to tackle rare diseases helped pour the foundation for the 21st Century Cures Act. At the National Institutes of Health, Roy Blunt’s name is literally on the door of the signature initiative he championed to help the millions of Americans affected by dementia.

“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.

“These are qualities Roy shares with fellow distinguished Missourians who preceded him. Ever the historian, our colleague has regaled guests with the history of his Senate office suite — which once belonged to Harry Truman, both as a Senator and even including Truman’s brief spell as Vice President. Apparently, Truman came back personally to collect his things and finish moving out after he’d already become the Commander-in-Chief.

“But history isn’t the only subject where this former teacher still administers pop quizzes.

“Roy’s staff tell fondly how their boss is liable to walk into their offices at any time and simply inquire: ‘So — what do you know?’ That one signature query captures Roy Blunt so well. The high standards. The curiosity. The restless energy to find the next big project that will make a difference. These qualities have made Roy one of the best the Senate’s ever had at sniffing out common ground and delivering outcomes.

“But legislation isn’t the only area where our friend’s nose-to-the-grindstone spirit pays dividends. For example — I’m not sure what Roy has planned for his next chapter, but given his penchant for spending Saturdays walking the aisles at Home Depot and knocking out home improvement projects, I give him about two weeks before there won’t be one leaky faucet or rusted hinge within a three-mile radius of Roy’s and Abby’s place. 

“We know our friend much too well to predict that he’ll follow 14 general election victories by kicking back and taking it easy. But I suspect Roy sure won’t mind the extra time with Abby, and seeing more of Matt, Amy, Andrew, Charlie, and his grandkids, too.

“On behalf of all his friends here in the Senate, and on behalf of the country, I thank my friend the senior Senator from Missouri for his years of outstanding service.”


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