8:47 PM EDT
Frank D. Lucas, R-OK 3rd

Mr. LUCAS of Oklahoma. Mr. Speaker, on the last day of this month this body will lose a Member who has for almost 18 1/2 years been a critical part of several committees. The Committee on Small Business has been noted, serving as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. But for me personally his chairmanship of the House Committee on Agriculture probably provides me with my greatest memories and has had the most tremendous impacts on my legislative judgment, certainly

on my constituents in Oklahoma.

I think back to 1996 when, in the heat of debate, at one of the most critical points of that farm bill, of sitting in a room with the then-Speaker and the late Bill Emerson and the soon-to-be-Chairman COMBEST as we discussed agriculture and southern crops and watching LARRY make quite clear what the needs were of his constituents and what he felt like the needs were for agriculture in the United States and changing the course of the farm bill that day.

Then in 2002 under his chairmanship and leadership with the gavel, setting about as he said at the time to

go forth and listen to our farmers, yes, to listen to the experts and, yes, to listen to all the academic input, but to create a farm bill for the producers, a farm bill based on the things that they thought should be in a farm bill. Many at the time thought it was a pretty amazing concept, not always the way things are done in Washington, D.C. But, lo and behold, hearings across the country, hearings beyond belief here in the Nation's Capital, and the result of that was an amazing farm bill.

And, oh, yes, the chairman's patience in conference committee, dealing with the, shall we say, other side of the building and dealing with some of our own membership, patience that would make Job extremely proud. And the result of that was a farm bill that locked in a tremendous amount of resources that, had we dug around that farm bill in 2003, would not have been there. Yes, a farm bill based on what our neighbors back home told us they wanted, crafted in a way that could build almost two-thirds

majorities in both the House and the Senate placed on the books.

But, ultimately, I think when LARRY and Sharon return home to west Texas, the final observation will be that they have been good servants of their constituents; and that is what it is all about, representing those folks back home to the best of your ability in a way that they would be proud of.

That, Mr. Chairman, you have accomplished. That is a goal I think we should all work towards.