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February 24, 2014

Sen. King Delivers George Washington’s Farewell Address

Continues bipartisan tradition dating back to 1862

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of a time-honored Senate tradition, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today delivered President George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address on the Senate floor.

“Washington was the execution of the vision of the Constitution. When he took office, there was no United States. There was an idea, there was a vision, there was a concept, but how it was actually put into practice was so much in the consequences of Washington’s decisions on a day-to-day basis,” Senator King said in remarks following the Address. “Washington was essential to the success of this country because of his role as the person who did the executing of the vision embodied by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

A video of Senator King reading the Address and his remarks following have been included below, and to download it for broadcast, click HERE.

First begun in 1862, the tradition of reading President Washington’s Farwell Address in the Senate Chamber to honor his birthday has spanned more than one hundred fifty years. The assignment alternates between members of each political party from year to year, and following the reading, the member inscribes his or her name and remarks in a leather-bound book maintained by the Secretary of the Senate.

Senator King is the third Senator from Maine to deliver the Address. Senator Ed Muskie read the Address in 1964 – almost fifty years ago to the day of Senator King’s reading – and Margaret Chase Smith delivered it in 1949.

“If you believe that I am honored and humbled to be following in those footsteps, you’d be correct,” Senator King said of joining Senators Muskie and Smith in having read the Address.

For more information on the Senate’s tradition of reading President Washington’s Farewell Address, click HERE.


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