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Strange preaches bipartisanship, laments divides in farewell speech to Senate

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., called for bipartisanship and an end to “entrenched factionalism” between the two political parties as he gave his last speech on the Senate floor.

Strange will not be returning to the chamber as he lost the party primary to Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in September. Before Strange left, he gave his final speech to the Senate.

In the speech, Strange talked about a room in the U.S. Capital called the Marble Room. According to Strange, the room was used for senators to find a place of resting between long chamber meetings.

Strange said the room also became a place where senators would “end up forming bonds that rose above politics.” The Alabama senator also noted its current state also.

“Today, the Marble Room is nearly always empty,” Strange said. “This emptiness symbolizes something that worries me about today’s politics. It is likely both a symptom and a cause of the partisan gridlock that often dominates this chamber.”

Strange called for compromises on legislation that has bogged down the upper chamber.

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“Mr. President, our generation of leaders will be judged by history on whether we strove to heal the divisions of this body and our nation,” Strange said. “In pursuit of that goal, every member of this body is an opportunity to grow in understanding. And yet, compromise has become a dirty word in American politics, and it’s a serious threat to our hopes of advancing meaningful policy.”

Strange leaves the Senate after less than 1 year on the job. He was appointed by former Gov. Robert Bentley earlier this year to fill in for Jeff Sessions who was appointed by President Donald Trump to attorney general.

Less than three months after his appointment, Bentley would resign after rebuking from Alabama’s most influential political leaders.

In April, newly sworn-in Gov. Kay Ivey would set a special election for the Senate seat. Strange vowed to take the nomination but could not beat former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Moore in a September runoff.

Moore and his Democratic opponent Doug Jones will go head-to-head on Tuesday to decide who will replace Strange in the Senate.

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