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McConnell Honors Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

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U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered remarks on the Senate floor regarding former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

McConnell was Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:

“I’d like to begin today with a few words about my House counterpart, Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Shepherding an institution like the House of Representatives – every bit as stubborn and diverse as the nation it represents – is a tall order.

Getting a slim majority pointed in the same direction at any one time can seem like nothing short of a miracle.

I’ve said before, in reference to my own position, that being the leader of your party in the Senate is much like being the groundskeeper at a cemetery. Everybody’s under you, but no one’s listening.

Of course, I doubt that Kevin McCarthy has ever seen himself as above anyone else.

Not the son of a firefighter. Not the grandson of immigrants who stood up his own small business and worked his way through school.

From the beginning of the Speaker’s House career, it was clear to anyone paying any attention that he was a doer, in the model of Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena. And an idealist in the model of his fellow Californian, Ronald Reagan.

Congressman McCarthy didn’t shy away from worthwhile fights. In fact, he usually dove in head-first.

He didn’t hesitate to get his hands dirty. When circumstances were tough, he drew on his faith, his family, and his belief in American exceptionalism.

His Bakersfield roots kept him grounded. And his beloved mother kept him appraised of kitchen-table concerns with frequent calls about the price of gas.

In other words, he had all the qualities of an effective representative and Speaker.

And I’m not sure anyone could have predicted just how much these qualities would come in handy over the past nine months.

Speaker McCarthy took office with a commitment to America. He insisted on restoring regular order. He made sure that the people’s House was once again open to the American people. And he took on the gravest challenge, a looming debt crisis, with single-minded determination.

The Speaker and I worked closely throughout his tenure, but I was particularly struck by his persistence. He literally willed the President of the United States to the negotiating table and kept coming back again and again until he had helped secure the nation’s full faith and credit.

Speaker McCarthy was a partner I could trust to be honest and candid. And, without fail, optimistic.

I’m grateful for the enthusiasm he brought to our shared work, and for the patriotic, conservative convictions he wears on his sleeve.

Perhaps the most telling thing about this week’s events in the House has been the way the Speaker handled them – with grace and with gratitude.

Speaker McCarthy should be proud of what he and his team have accomplished on behalf of the American people over the past nine months.

And he can rest assured that his colleagues – myself included – will continue to draw on his talents and optimism in the days that lie ahead.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.