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Vermont lawmakers honor Sen. Leahy at Statehouse ceremony

Sen. Leahy raises arms at Statehouse while his wife, Marcelle, Gov. Phil Scott and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray applaud
Mike Dunn
Vermont PBS
Vermont lawmakers honor Sen. Leahy at the Statehouse as he finishes his eighth term in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Patrick Leahy bid farewell to Vermont lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon at an emotional ceremony at the Statehouse.

Leahy is stepping down after serving eight terms in the U.S. Senate.

More from VPR: Sen. Leahy announces he won't seek reelection next fall

Members of the Vermont House and Senate gave Leahy several standing ovations to recognize his work on several issues over the years. That includes human rights, national security, environmental policies, and his world wide effort to ban the use of land mines.

Leahy told the crowd that he's been guided by one major principle during his career.

"I think of Vermont as a place where you can develop your conscience. I think... the U.S. Senate should be the conscience of the nation and sometimes is," he said. "And I've been willing to trust Vermonters."

Gov. Phil Scott told the gathering that Leahy has had an enormous impact on the state of Vermont.

"I'm not one for going over the top, but it's not an exaggeration to say that Vermont would not be anywhere near what we are today without Sen. Leahy," he said. "While he's physically been in Washington, his heart is always here in Vermont."

Scott also said Leahy is largely responsible for Vermont receiving more than $2 billion in federal COVID relief funds over the past two years.

More from VPR: Ask Bob: As candidates vie for a rare Vermont vacancy, when was the last time a House and Senate seat were both open?

At the end of his remarks, Leahy told the crowd that "this is one of the greatest thrills in my life."

When he steps down in January, Leahy will be the third longest serving senator in the history of the U.S. Senate

Have questions, comments, or concerns? Send us a message or get in touch with reporter Bob Kinzel:

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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