Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Pat Toomey gave a farewell speech in the Senate on Thursday, following nearly two decades in Congress.
His 20-minute speech included thanks to his family, staff and colleagues for their support, while also reviewing his accomplishments.
“Representing Pennsylvania in the United States Senate for these 12 years has been the greatest honor of my professional life,” said Toomey, a Lehigh County resident. “And I’ll always be enormously grateful to the wonderful people of this great state, for them entrusting me with this awesome responsibility. And I also am equally grateful to the volunteers who made those campaigns successful.”
Toomey was first elected to the Senate in 2010. Before that, he was in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms after working in the banking industry and operating a restaurant in Allentown.
Despite differing views from opposite sides of the aisle, Toomey warmly lauded Democrat Bob Casey as someone willing to work with him to help Pennsylvania.
“I don’t think you could ask for a more collegial, thoughtful colleague than the fella that shares the senatorial responsibilities with me for Pennsylvania,” Toomey said. “Fact is we cancel each other’s vote out almost every time, but we’ve also worked together when we could and one of the areas where we had just tremendous success is filling vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania.”
Toomey said in 12 years, the two have teamed up to get 33 federal judges confirmed to the bench in Pennsylvania. Only California and Texas have had more judges confirmed and neither state had split delegations in that period.
Toomey offered some outgoing recommendations for Republicans, Democrats and the Senate.
“For my Republican colleagues, let me just say, our party can’t be about or beholden to any one man, our party is much bigger than that,” he said, referring to former President Donald Trump. “We are the political representation of this huge center-right coalition across America. On a good day, that’s more than half of Americans and I hope we resist the temptation to adopt the protectionist, nativist, isolationist, redistributive policies that some are suggesting we embrace.”
He said Democrats, while sincerely wanting to defend democracy, must remember that it is much more than just voting.
“Elections really are a means to an end,” he said, “they are not the end themselves. The end or purpose of elections is to provide the mechanism of accountability of the government, to the people whose consent is our sole source of legitimacy. When we hand over Congress’s responsibilities to unelected and therefore unaccountable parts of our government, be that the courts or independent regulators or executive branch agencies, we really undermine our democracy, which, of course, is really our republic.”