TRIBUTE TO BILL NELSON; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 197
(Senate - December 13, 2018)

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[Pages S7579-S7580]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                         TRIBUTE TO BILL NELSON

  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, today I wish to pay tribute to someone 
whose passion for service is literally out of this world.
  As a payload specialist, Bill Nelson spent 6 days orbiting our planet 
aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.
  When he looked down on Earth, he didn't see blue States or red 
States.
  Instead, he saw green land, blue oceans and lakes, including some big 
ones in Michigan, and a whole wide world worth protecting.
  A decade and a half later, Bill Nelson was sworn in as U.S. Senator 
for Florida.
  His previous experiences in space, as a U.S. Army captain, as a State 
legislator, and in the U.S. House of Representatives have shaped every 
decision he has made since then.
  I remember Senator Nelson's swearing-in, because it was my first day, 
too, and we have been serving together ever since.
  Senator Nelson has been such a forceful advocate for technology--no 
surprise given his time at NASA--and for protecting consumers.
  He has fought every day to do right by our seniors, keeping Medicare 
and Social Security strong, working to eliminate the Medicare Part D 
``donut hole,'' and expanding access to home healthcare.
  He has been a strong voice for protecting our environment, 
particularly from oil drilling, an issue close to the hearts of people 
in both Florida and Michigan.
  One of my favorite memories of Senator Nelson actually took place in 
Michigan, during a 2016 codel.
  Senator Nelson came to Michigan to tour our Coast Guard installations 
as ranking member on Commerce.
  He got the full tour: Station Grand Haven, Air Station Detroit, 
Station St.

[[Page S7580]]

lgnace, Air Station Traverse City, and even the CGC Mackinaw.
  That is a heavy icebreaker that helps keep Great Lakes channels and 
harbors open during the cold winter months.
  It is something he doesn't get a chance to see very often in Florida.
  Well, I don't remember exactly how it happened, but Senator Nelson 
decided to challenge a member of the Coast Guard, who was in his 20s, 
to a pull-up contest.
  If you guess that the young guy lost, you would be right.
  That is when I decided never to settle disagreements with Senator 
Nelson by challenging him to an arm-wrestling contest.
  I think I speak for many of us when I say that I will miss working 
with Bill.
  Bill has always believed that there is more that unites us than 
divides us.
  Perhaps that is the perspective he gained looking down from space.
  His passion for public service shines through in everything he does.
  On a personal note, I would like to thank him for taking such good 
care of my snowbird constituents during the winter months.
  Bill: Thank you for your hard work, leadership, and lifetime of 
serving Florida and our country.

                          ____________________