Tennessee's senior U.S. senator, Lamar Alexander, spoke from the Senate floor in Washington, D.C., today to honor his colleague Sen. Bob Corker, who did not seek re-election to a third term and is leaving Congress.
Alexander said his fellow Republican "is always a man on a mission with little regard of the obstacles in the way."
Alexander, of Maryville, told a story of Corker was curious about smuggling supplies from Egypt to Gaza, so he hailed a Jeep, rode to the border, inspected the tunnels, took photographs and showed them to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when they met that afternoon, according to a news release from Alexander's office.
"The prime minister might have been surprised by Bob Corker's conduct, but none of us who knew Bob Corker were surprised," Alexander said.
Alexander also referred to Corker's stint as mayor of Chattanooga. He said Corker "would be the first to tell you that Chattanooga was already on a roll — that a lot of people had a lot to do with Chattanooga's success — but everybody else will tell you that he was the best, fastest runner to have on the last stage of the relay team because he took what was already beginning to happen in Chattanooga and put it into high gear.
"Bob laid the groundwork for what eventually attracted Volkswagen to put his North American manufacturing plant there, and to have the country generally regard Chattanooga as one of the most, if not the most, desirable midsized cities in America."
Alexander said Corker voted with his Republican colleagues 85 percent of the time, "but he always has been a conservative who prizes results over speeches"
He also quoted Peyton Manning as saying he hoped Corker would serve in the U.S. Senate until he was 100 years old.
"I think that was really to get people to quit asking Peyton Manning to run for the United States Senate because he knew better than to get involved," Alexander quipped.
"While I am looking forward to working with Marsha Blackburn, who is Bob Corker's successor, I will have to admit that I agreed with Peyton Manning. Bob Corker has done as a United States senator what every Tennessean – and every American – should hope a United States senator would do. He's gotten up early determined to find some way to make the country a little better, talked to anybody on the telephone who he thought knew anything about the issue he cared about, jumped into it with both feet saying exactly what he thought was the right thing to do for the country and usually coming out with a result that did just that. It's been a privilege to serve with him, and I look forward to watching what has to be one of the best upcoming shows in town, which will be whatever Bob Corker decides to do next."