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Westerman Remembers the Late U.S. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt

April 29, 2015
Speech
Floor Speech Delivered Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt began serving as a member of this body from my lifelong home state of Arkansas in 1967, the year I was born, and he did so for 12 terms...long enough for me to grow up, graduate from college, get a job, and get married.

He was a fixture in Arkansas politics and even though I grew up in a different district than he represented, John Paul Hammerschmidt was a household name in my family.  His love for Arkansas and America was evident in his service. He was a champion for his district and our state and helped to transform the hills of Northwest Arkansas through his work to secure funding for the construction of what is now known as Interstate 49.

But Congressman Hammerschmidt was known for much more than securing infrastructure funding. He was a tireless advocate for all constituents from the Third District and across Arkansas. He was friends with men and women on both sides of the aisle and worked hardest to do what was right for the citizens of Arkansas, regardless of political identification. He served his country and fellow man with honor both in the military and in congress leaving a lasting legacy and setting the bar high for those of us who follow him. Congressman Hammerschmidt is terribly missed by his family, friends, and those of us who follow him in service. He was from the beautiful Ozark hills of Arkansas and many times the people of Arkansas and America were blessed by the leadership of a gentleman from the hills who served his Creator by serving others. As we remember his service may we all continue to look to the hills and be comforted by the words of the Psalmist who wrote:

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

“He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber or sleep.

“The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

“The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

“The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

“The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, end even for evermore."

Video of Westerman's floor speech may be viewed here. Video of the Arkansas delegation's Hammerschmidt remembrances may be viewed in their entirety here.