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On The Retirement Of House Parliamentarian John V. Sullivan

(Mr. BOEHNER asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

Rep. John A. Boehner

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It's my privilege today to pay tribute to John Sullivan, who will retire this week after 8 years of service as our Parliamentarian and 25 years of service to this House.

John leaves his post with much to be proud of, starting with a first-rate team of parliamentarians who will do a fine job carrying on his legacy.

The parls are the people who are here first every morning, and they're also the last ones to leave at night. They review every piece of legislation. They keep us tethered to the rules and traditions that are the House's foundation. In this way, the parliamentarians are really the glue that holds this House together.

The leader of that team is John Sullivan, whose devotion to the House is as total as his commitment to Indiana basketball. Now, Coach Bobby Knight once defined ``discipline'' as ``doing what you have to do, doing it as well as you possibly can, and doing it that way all the time.'' By this definition, John truly is one of the most disciplined people to have ever served in this House.

He consistently has shown grace under pressure in what well may be one of the biggest pressure cookers on Earth. He has strengthened and modernized the Office of the Parliamentarian to meet the needs of a more open and transparent Congress.

John, who was here on 9/11, determined how the House should go forward, and has spent every day preparing for the unexpected. In a body where anything can happen, he's always thinking two steps ahead, like any good coach.

So, of course, John's a modest man. He would just say it was just him doing his job. Like I said, discipline. But make no mistake: for the House and the people that we serve, he's gone above and beyond the call of duty.

John, we're sorry to see you go, but we want to wish you and your family the best. On behalf of the whole House, we want to thank you for your service.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield to the Democratic leader, Ms. Pelosi.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi

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I thank the Speaker for yielding. I am proud to join him to honor the long and distinguished service of the House Parliamentarian, John Sullivan.

For 25 years, as has been said, he has served the House with distinction and dignity, integrity and intellect. He has used his keen mind, excellent legal training, and a commitment to public service to make nonpartisan, objective decisions. Always first in his mind was the Constitution and, therefore, his undying respect for the institution of Congress. Indeed, through his service and his example, John Sullivan has become an institution himself, a source of wise counsel and parliamentary leadership, and though his name rarely makes headlines and though his hard work is seldom noticed in the public eye, the American people have benefited greatly from his extraordinary career.

A proud son of northwest Indiana, John Sullivan was a lawyer by training, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, and served our Nation in the Judge Advocate General's Office of the Air Force. He went on to advise the House Armed Services Committee before joining the Parliamentarian's office. He would ultimately hold the title of Parliamentarian of the House of Representatives, a post occupied by only three others in the past 75 years. He has been a fair and independent voice, a professional of the highest caliber, a careful steward of the rules of the House, a true public servant.

Mr. Speaker, as a point of personal pride, on June 2, 1987, I was sworn in as a result of a special election, and I was the first Member of Congress to take the oath of office during John's tenure. For many reasons, he will hold a long place of honor in the history of the House, and in my personal history as well.

In a recent story on his career, John Sullivan summed up the key characteristics of his success. In his own words, he said, ``You have to be very attentive to every syllable being uttered and able to think on your feet,'' as the Speaker said.

Attention to detail, quick thinking, staying attuned to the letter of the law, these were the hallmarks of John Sullivan's service. He has left a lasting legacy, and I am confident that his deputy and replacement, Tom Wickham, will continue in the same fine tradition.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our Parliamentarians. We owe a special debt of gratitude and our heartfelt thanks on this day to our Parliamentarian, John Sullivan. He has earned the respect and the admiration of Members of Congress, and he will be missed. We wish him and his wife, Nancy, and his children our best wishes for their future endeavors.

Congratulations and thank you, John Sullivan.

Rep. John A. Boehner

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Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.