Sen. Burr Pays Tribute to the Late Sen. Tom Coburn
‘Never privileged, earned everything he got, and he banked everything he learned, and ultimately at the end of his career he used that for this institution, and for the American people, and for people around the world... And for all of the things Tom Coburn tried to accomplish, he did it in a way that his Lord would have been proud of him.’
Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) paid tribute to his close friend and former colleague, the late Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), during a floor speech following Senator Coburn’s passing on March 28, 2020.
Sen. Burr recognizes the work and life of his friend Sen. Tom Coburn
“For a guy that was perceived as the right of the right hardliner, Tom was probably one of the most compassionate individuals. He was one of the individuals that understood the common person because he was one, in his mind, his entire life. Never privileged, earned everything he got, and he banked everything he learned, and ultimately at the end of his career he used that for this institution, and for the American people, and for people around the world.
“His impact will be felt for generations to come not just here, but by the kids that he delivered in Oklahoma that today are two and three and four and five-years-old. Kids that will grow up reading about their hero from Oklahoma. And though Tom had a distinguished Congressional career and will be remembered for a lot of legislative victories, that’s not Tom Coburn’s greatest claim to fame.
“I’ve never known an individual more devoted to a wife than Tom Coburn was to Carolyn. She was a beauty queen. She was when she was young and she was in Tom’s eyes the day he died. He loved her without question. But Tom also loved his daughters. He was so proud of their accomplishments. He and Carolyn worked to make sure that they finally moved to where they had everybody close. I think Tom knew that the wheel of luck was going to run out. But you see, that’s not the way Tom looked at it. He wanted to spend every precious moment with his wife, his kids, and his grandchildren. He wanted any impact and impression he could make to be on that next generation of Coburns.
“And for all the qualities that I could talk about Tom Coburn, there’s not enough time to really praise him. It would take days and it would take a lot of individuals to come up and do it. And it’s probably impossible to say goodbye to a friend like Tom Coburn. There’s no question to me that I came to trust and value everything that Tom stood for.
“And the one thing about Tom Coburn that many people knew was that Tom had this tremendous peace about himself. I think some might have thought it was because Tom had such a stellar background and he knew so much. The truth is that if you sat and talked to Tom, you found out the truth. Tom loved his Lord, Jesus Christ. He didn’t hide it. And when given the opportunity, he wanted to share that peace with anybody that was willing to sit and listen. Tom went to Bible studies. Tom was criticized for where he lived because it was certainly religious and leaning. But that was Tom’s life. And as much as he adored his wife and children and grandchildren, he adored his Lord just as much.
“Madame President, my colleagues, we were blessed to have Tom Coburn’s influence on this institution. Not everybody in America understands how blessed they are to have had his influence on the policies and the way the future generations will be impacted by Tom Coburn for all of his works. Today, Tom may be in Heaven. No, today, Tom is in Heaven. And I guarantee, the President and my colleagues, he’s giving them hell. He’s up there trying to change the architecture of the deck chairs. He’s up trying to say, ‘Why do you do things this way and not that way’ … And though, he may be challenging the rules in Heaven today, make no mistake about it, he’s still preaching the word and he’s always believed that word. And for all of the things Tom Coburn tried to accomplish, he did it in a way that his Lord would have been proud of him.
“Madame President and my colleagues, I know others will pay tribute to Tom Coburn’s work here. I’m here today to pay tribute to Tom Coburn’s life. Not just the impact he had on this institution, or the Congress, or the United States as a whole, but the example he set for all of us: That life doesn’t have to be fair, but we as individuals have to be committed. And Tom Coburn was committed to everything in life that he did. And I’m sure today Tom continues to preach commitment to those who will listen.”