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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today honored retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on the Senate floor.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):


“Mr. President, it’s hard to believe that my friend Richard Burr is leaving Congress.


“He’s someone I’ve known since my days in the House of Representatives, and we’ve been friends from the beginning.


“And it’s difficult to imagine serving in the Senate here without him.


“Our wives are very close friends as well, and we’ve had many wonderful times with the Burrs.


“I’ve enjoyed hosting Richard in South Dakota on a number of occasions.


“Richard is an outdoors guy like I am, and he fits right in in South Dakota – well, except for the fact that he’s the only guy not wearing socks.


“One of our favorite pastimes in South Dakota is pheasant hunting, and I’ve had Richard out to South Dakota during pheasant season on more than one occasion.


“He’s a great shot.


“And – as I discovered when Kimberley and I visited Richard and Brooke in North Carolina – he’s also a great handyman.

“Apparently he thinks his guests should be as well, since he put me right to work on a new door he was installing.


“But I was well-paid for my trouble with the meal Richard cooked for us.


“One of the privileges of visiting Richard is getting to enjoy his cooking.


“He is an outstanding cook – he can really make anything.

“I’m not saying he should open a restaurant in his retirement, but if he did, I would certainly be the first in line at the opening.


“Richard has certainly left his mark on Washington.


“His car – a 1974 Volkswagen ‘Thing,’ often parked outside the Russell building with the top down, no matter the season, and adorned with his colleagues’ campaign stickers – was a fixture of Capitol Hill.


“And Richard – who as well as being a handyman is a capable mechanic – could often be found working under the Thing’s hood to keep it running. 


“A true labor of love.   


“But, Mr. President, in this chamber, of course, what Richard is really known for is being an outstanding legislator.


“He’s always been someone who knows how to get things done, how to build a coalition and get legislation across the finish line.


“And that’s evident in his record of accomplishment here in the Senate.


“Promoting medical research and innovation.


“Supporting veterans.


“Changing the way student loan interest rates are set to save families money.


“Working to ensure that child-care settings are safe and high-quality.


“Establishing ABLE accounts for individuals with disabilities to help better their lives.


“And the list goes on.


“Long before COVID, Richard was working to prepare our nation to respond to the threat of a disaster or a pandemic, and since COVID, he has worked to ensure that our nation’s future pandemic response reflects the lessons we have learned.


“Richard has been a strong advocate for his state, in particular for North Carolina veterans.


“He’s worked to bring new VA facilities to North Carolina and to ensure that veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune receive VA medical care.


“I think all of us get into this life in the hope that we can one day leave Congress knowing that we have done something to make life better for our fellow Americans.


“Richard can leave Congress with that assurance.


“Mr. President, I will miss Richard.


“It’s a privilege and a blessing when you are able to serve with a friend for so long.


“And I will miss our daily interactions.


“But I know that in Congress or not, our friendship will endure.


“I look forward to seeing all that Richard will do in his next chapter, and to many more happy hours spent with the Burrs.


“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”