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Tribute To Cindy Hayden

Sen. Jeff Sessions

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Mr. President, I rise today to bid farewell to my chief counsel on the Judiciary Committee, Cindy Hayden, who is with me today. We all depend so much on our staff. They give of themselves, they give of their time, they are committed to their beliefs, and serve America, and we are never able to say thank you to all of them, but on special occasions, I think it is important to do so. In saying my thanks to her, I am saying thanks to all my staff, and to all the staff of the Senate, who serve us so well, often without ever receiving credit.

I am pleased for her because she will be starting a new chapter in her professional life, though her departure will be a tremendous loss to my staff and the Senate at large. I am glad she will be in DC, working close by, so we can call on her when we need her help.

Cindy Hayden is an exceptional person. I feel a great loss at her departure. Each day that we have worked together, she has shown an unwavering dedication to our shared values, to her State, and to her Nation. Her passion for the law is unmatched, and her commitment to the rule of law is unwavering. I trust her judgment, her political instincts, and her values. I have relied on her to manage my Judiciary staff and the multitude of important issues that committee handles. With so many issues arising on a daily basis, it is sometimes not possible for me to personally be aware of them all. In everything from judicial nominations, immigration, and any number of constitutional issues, Cindy has exhibited an intellectual capacity, a tenacity to principle, a strong work ethic, and a professional integrity that is above reproach.

Before joining my staff, she had a distinguished academic career at my undergraduate school, Huntington College, and the University of Alabama School of Law. At Huntington, Cindy had an outstanding record of academic excellence, receiving degrees in both chemistry and political science. I think chemistry is pretty impressive and would certainly get your attention when you looked at a resume. She then went to law school at the University of Alabama, where she graduated cum laude and served as managing editor of the Journal of Legal Profession and was a member of the moot court board. While in law school, she clerked in the office of the Alabama Attorney General under my successor, now Eleventh Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, a brilliant legal mind himself.

Immediately after taking the bar, Cindy started working as counsel on my staff, and for the past 6 years worked her way up to chief counsel. Her work on the Senate Judiciary Committee has been extraordinary, and I believe the committee is a better place for her service. The committee takes on an enormous number and wide variety of complex and sometimes controversial issues. It is one of the most demanding committees in the Senate. To be successful as an attorney on that committee you must not only be hard working and intelligent and someone who works very long hours, but you must also be a strong negotiator, able to frame arguments in a passionate, respectful, and intellectually honest way. She has done all that with seemingly effortless skill.

I would note that the Judiciary Committee has attracted, and has right now, a host of superior attorneys who serve all of us. They are an excellent team, indeed. I would be remiss not to mention her stellar work on immigration. Since she arrived in my office, Cindy has worked tirelessly to protect the rule of law in this country, and as it turned out, she found herself at the center of a national debate on how to fix the broken immigration system in our country. Those of you who have worked on either side of the issue have certainly had to deal with Cindy and her relentless advocacy as she became the go-to person on immigration, providing a wealth of information and knowledge for all involved.

Indeed, her ``alerts'' that were sent out--always meticulously accurate--were picked up routinely all over the country by media outlets as accurate depictions of developments, as they were occurring so rapidly during that intense debate. So whether you were for her or against her in principle, everyone can certainly agree she handled herself with dignity, courage, tenacity, and capability during that debate.

Evidence of her dedication and influence on the committee and its staff can be seen by what some of her colleagues have had to say about her. And this is a good team, indeed. Ed Haden, my former chief counsel, who hired her, said:

Cindy immediately made a difference when she started on the committee. Her intelligence, work ethic, initiative, and willingness to stand up and defend her position made her a great asset. Her unflinching integrity and solid core values made her a success as a lawyer and as a friend.

And I would add that she was raised right. She has great values, as a product of Cullman, AL. She grew up in the heart of Alabama and was raised in an outstanding way.

William Smith, my former chief counsel and current executive director of the Americans for Limited Government Research Foundation, said the following:

I have met and worked with a number of great lawyers. Cindy Hayden is in a category more select than great. She is one of the few superior lawyers I have met. I was privileged to serve with her on the Judiciary Committee and I count her a true confidant. Our motto in the office was, ``we work from sun to sun; our work is never done.'' Cindy has lived up to and surpassed that calling. On top of this, she is a great American. The only group I know that will truly celebrate her departure will be illegal aliens.

That is what William Smith said. Brian Darling, director of Senate Relations for the Heritage Foundation said this:

Cindy has been a hero to conservatives nationwide who believe in the rule of law. Without Cindy and ``Team Sessions''' tireless efforts to educate the American public on the contents of the secretly drafted amnesty bill, the bill may have become law.

Wendy Fleming, General Counsel for the Senate Steering Committee says:

Cindy Hayden is a great American, a smart lawyer, and a wonderful friend. During her time on the Judiciary Committee, Cindy has displayed unwavering devotion to Senator Sessions, the people of Alabama, and her conservative principles. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with Cindy.

Brooke Bacak, former Counsel for me and current Chief Counsel for Senator Coburn says:

I have had the privilege of knowing Cindy for 10 years. Having first met in College Republicans, I learned about her conservative convictions very early in our friendship. Cindy has proven to be a true patriot, and I am grateful for the role that she has played in the U.S. Senate. But beyond our political and professional association, Cindy has become a true friend. She and her husband, Matt, are two of the most generous people I know. From birthdays to illnesses, the Haydens always make time to be with their friends. Their kindness has made a difference to me and many others. I wish Cindy the very best in her new job and hope she knows how much she will be missed.

Joe Matal, Counsel for Senator Kyl says:

If you look closely at the corpse of last year's immigration bill, you will find a series of small squares holes in its back. Those holes were produced by Cindy's heels, stomping that bill to death.

Rita Lari Jochum, Chief Counsel for Senator Grassley, says:

Cindy Hayden has served Senator Sessions, Alabama and our country extremely well. A committed advocate for conservative principles, Cindy has been tenacious in her drive to do what is right. We all are going to miss a great friend and skilled colleague.

Lauren Petron, Chief Counsel for Senator Brownback, says:

Cindy is a principled conservative, a tireless advocate, a talented lawyer, a trusted colleague, and a dear friend. She is truly a person who lives out her values and beliefs. I feel privileged to have worked with her on the Judiciary Committee, and I am certain that she will be a great success in all her future endeavors.

John Abegg, Counsel for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

Cindy continued a long line of outstanding chief counsels for Senator Sessions. She is smart, principled, and tough, but has a kind heart as well. She worked tirelessly to serve Senator Sessions' Alabama constituents and the people of the United States, and she did so with distinction.

Alan Hanson, my Legislative Director says:

Cindy is a serious and accomplished professional with a big heart and disarming wit. While I will miss being her colleague in the Senate, I know Cindy will do well in all her endeavors and wish her the best.

Ajit Pai, Deputy General Counsel for the FCC says:

Staffers on both sides of the aisle would agree that Cindy Hayden brings to the table a welcome combination of intelligence, dedication, and likeability. It was my privilege to have worked with her on Senator Sessions' staff, and it will always be my privilege to call her a friend.

Bradley Hayes, my Senior Counsel says:

I have had the honor to work with both talented professionals and close, personal friends. In Cindy Hayden, I've had the rare privilege to work with an individual who encompasses both. I have had the pleasure to work with Cindy since the day I started in the Senate almost three years ago. On a daily basis, I have been able to battle liberals with a person whom I not only respect and admire, but someone whose friendship I will value long after her departure. From her first day in the Senate, Cindy has worked tirelessly to promote conservative principles and has been a tremendous asset for both Senator Sessions and the U.S. Senate. The State of Alabama and the nation as a whole are better because of her selfless work these past six years. Though she leaves us to carry on the fight, the lessons she has taught me, and others who have worked with her, will ensure that Cindy's legacy of fidelity to the rule of law and conservative principles will continue for years to come.

These are just some of the statements from the staffers whom Cindy has worked with that reflect their respect for her.

I will just conclude personally by saying I never had a staffer to be more involved than Cindy in as sustained and intense a period of debate as we find ourselves in on the immigration debate. It was a constant every day struggle, and things were always rapidly changing.

We believe the bill on the floor, though it had a lot of support and many good things in it, was not the right approach to solving our illegal immigration problems in America. We decided someone had to be active in that and raise those issues. Cindy was just fabulous, and I depended on her. Day after day, her work and the respect she engendered throughout the country played a big role in the final result, in which the bill was pulled down without passage in that form.

Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity to share these words. As I speak about her, again I want to note I share my thoughts and these comments about so many of our staffers who serve America in the Senate.

I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The clerk will call the roll.

The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln

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Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

Without objection, it is so ordered.

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