August 11, 2022
Sturch Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, colleagues. I, too, share some of the same sentiments Senator Hendren just mentioned. The reason, main reason I wanted to come down here was to also say thank you. First, thank you to my constituents back home, who for the last eight years have put confidence in me as a state representative and as their state senator. Those five counties that I serve, that’s home. The two things that I always wanted to remember was where I came from and where I was going back to. For a poor kid from South Side to be able to serve in the legislature is a great honor and probably the greatest honor of my life.
I want to say thank you to my family as well, my parents who supported me throughout this whole journey and provided the foundation so that I can serve honorably. We may not always know the legacy that we leave, but I know what I take with me: integrity. Integrity. And that means more to me than anything.
And finally, I want to say thank you to each of you. Each of you have meant something to me, the relationships that we’ve built together, the bills that we’ve sponsored, the differences we’ve made. All those things I’ll remember forever. And each of you placed a small trust in me to be able to sit in that chair. And I can’t thank you enough for that incredible honor. Up until Senator Gilmore came, I was the youngest member here. I still have the record, so that’s all right. But you always, as one of the younger ones, feel somewhat intimidated by the wisdom– I’ll put it that way– around you. But for you to be able to allow me to serve and preside, I thank you wholeheartedly.
I heard it said back during the campaign– another candidate from somewhere else– they wanted to be the next Joe McCarthy. And that shows you what kind of world of politics we’re living in right now. I don’t think there needs to be more Joe McCarthys. I think there needs to be more Margaret Chase Smiths. And if you don’t, if you don’t know who that is, I would argue you don’t know much history, or at least fair history. As a history teacher, I want you to know who both of them are.
We need more people who serve with conscience, who serve with integrity. We need more people, as Senator Hendren said, looking to solve problems, not create them. To build bridges, not to burn them. Friends, I tell you, there’s a lot of work still left to do. We don’t have to be reflective of the national politics we see. We can dare to be different. We can dare to be the examples that we should be, both for our state and for our nation. I hope that you’ll agree with me that we still live in the greatest country on earth. We still live in one of the best states in the union. And as Senator Hendren mentioned, there’s a lot of young people counting on us to leave it better than what we found it.
So I’ll leave you with an improvised quote. Young senators are never defeated. They simply run again. God bless you.