Alabama-based U.S. Senator Doug Jones, his voice occasionally broken and stifled by emotion, gave a farewell speech to the Senate Wednesday afternoon.
He talked about no one expecting the 2017 special election result that made him the first Alabama Democratic senator since his mentor, U.S. Senator Howell Heflin, retired in 1997.
“I just seem to like a kind of lost cause,” Jones said. “I believe in hope. I believe in salvation. I believe in the possibility. “
Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate, introduced Jones, who is “just a pleasure to be around”.
Schumer praised Jones for sticking to his principles.
“He did what he always did,” Schumer said. “He acted in principle, he acted according to his conscience, the politics was damned.”
Schumer also called Jones to call Montana’s Democratic Democratic U.S. Senator, U.S. Senator Jon Tester, to his cell phone while joking.
Schumer said Jones insisted that all 100 senators sign the baseball balls he himself holds as part of his collection of memories, which includes a ball signed by Joe DiMaggio.
Schumer likened Jones to the fictional lawyer of the small town, Atticus Finch, the hero of “Kill a Mock Bird,” noting that Jones didn’t make it to Finch, but once played a judge in a novel processing production in Birmingham. Jones is a real finch, he said.
“It’s the role of his life,” Schumer said.
“I’m humiliating,” Jones said, choking.
“My time is up here,” he said. “I can honestly say I had a lot of fun.” The last three years have been amazing.
Jones said he hopes to be part of such important legislation as the Civil Law Act of 1964.
“I didn’t get a chance to be a part of a perfect game,” Jones said.
He noted that he has helped by sponsoring and assisting more than 20 bipartisan bills.
“I don’t want to spend the last time on the Senate floor talking about what I did,” Jones said.
“I want to talk about what needs to be done.”
He encouraged senators to continue to support health care for all and defend the Affordable Care Act.
“The goal is health for everyone,” Jones said. “It is possible to provide quality education for all children. Now you have to fold your finger and do it.
He also encouraged them to make high-speed internet accessible and affordable for all and to raise the minimum wage for lower-income workers.
“They work, they work hard,” Jones said. “We must do everything we can to lift them out of this poverty.”
Jones said he regretted that law enforcement reform had not been adopted in response to the May 25 assassination of George Floyd and the widespread protests that followed.
“It’s possible that law enforcement serves and protects all Americans, not just a few,” and “is rooted in systemic racism,” Jones said.
“I was disappointed that we let this moment pass,” Jones said.
– It’s never too late for justice.
Jones said the Senate must ensure that all people have access to the ballot box and that the election is safe, in response to allegations of fraud by outgoing President Donald Trump.
“Don’t let these allegations be credible at any time in the future,” Jones said. “Together, we can make our choices safe and secure.”
People’s faith in their government is at stake.
“The faith of the American people in government can be restored,” Jones said. “It simply came to our notice then. But it can be restored.
Jones said he steered his own path in the Senate.
“Sen. Schumer never tried to put puppet strings on me, Jones said. “He was accused of that. He never tried.
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, another Alabama senator, took the podium after Jones and talked about their friendship.
“I think we’ll hear more from him in the coming weeks and months,” Shelby said. “If we work together, Republicans and Democrats, we get things done. If not, things won’t happen.
Several other senators stood on the podium to praise Jones.
Tester talked about his friendship with Jones. “I don’t think we heard the last one from Doug Jones,” he said.
Jones, a long friend of President-elect Joe Biden, is considered the leading candidate for the U.S. Attorney General. Republican candidate Tommy Tuberville, a former football coach at Auburn University, defeated Jones in the Nov. 3 election and is scheduled to take office in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 3, 2021.