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In farewell address, Sen. Lamar Alexander calls for bipartisanship, 'change in behavior'

In farewell address, Sen. Lamar Alexander calls for bipartisanship, 'change in behavior'
Posted at 2:42 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 14:42:51-05

WASHINGTON — Retiring U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, gave his farewell address from the Senate floor Wednesday morning, urging for a "change of behavior."

Alexander is retiring after more than 40 years in public service. During his farewell remarks, he called for bipartisanship among what has been a deeply divided Senate over the past decade.

"Divided government offers an opportunity to share the responsibility — or the blame — for hard decisions," Alexander said. "That's why our country needs a United States Senate, to thoughtfully, carefully and intentionally put country before partisanship and personal politics, to force broad agreements on controversial issues that become laws most of us have voted for and that a diverse country will accept."

Alexander also offered a defense of the filibuster, the parliamentary rule that allows a minority party to block legislation. He says the rule forces the Senate to work together to solve problems as opposed to allowing one party to dominate the chamber.

Some progressive Democrats have floated eliminating the filibuster in the hopes of passing more legislation.

Alexander's career began in 1978 when he famously walked more than 1,000 miles across Tennessee to make his case to be governor. He served two terms as the state governor and later took the helm at the University of Tennessee. He also served as President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of Education.

Alexander has served as a senator since 2002. He will be replaced by Senator-elect Bill Hagerty, a fellow Republican.

This story was originally published by Laken Bowles on WTVF in Nashville.