May 4, 2017

Hoosier Common Sense is Focus of Sen. Young’s First Speech on Senate Floor

Today, Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) delivered his first speech from the Floor of the United States Senate. The speech, traditionally referred to as the “maiden speech”, was an address to his Senate colleagues inspired by the people he represents. It took the idea of “Hoosier common sense” and tied it to the mission of working towards the “common good” of Hoosiers and all Americans.

The speech, which was attended by former Senator Richard Lugar, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the majority of his colleagues in the Indiana Congressional delegation, including Senator Joe Donnelly, began with a call:

“Our charge is simple, but it won’t be easy: for our republican system to endure, we must breathe life back into the notion of the “common good” through the relentless application of common sense.”

In a nod to his friends and family who were watching both from the Senate gallery and via a facebook livestream, he spoke of Hoosiers who helped him understand the “common good”:

I was raised in a place where neighbor cared for neighbor.This is the common good in practice.

“I lived among people of character who made others’ concerns their personal concerns. This is the common good.

“I benefited from the selfless contributions of Americans who invested their own time, their own attention, their own resources into helping their fellow Americans. This is the common good.

“I came to know rank-and-file citizens who quietly took the initiative to care for the forgotten Hoosiers who needed a hand up. This is the common good…

“With respect, my colleagues, I note that this outline of the common good would fully satisfy any rank-and-file Hoosier, but sadly in our modern politics sometimes our most stubborn partisans resist even the most self-evident truths.”

Senator Young drew inspiration from lessons learned while serving in the Marine Corps:

I’m a Marine, and I like a good fight as much as the next guy. But let’s resolve whenever possible to fight together, because I know for certain we’re fighting for the same people — and, in most cases, we’re fighting for the same ends.”

He also devoted a significant portion of his comments to stories that are all too common for many Hoosiers. He reminded his colleagues that there are people in their states who share similar stories and we should devote our time efforts to fighting for them:

“I’m fighting for Bob, a middle-aged single father of two boys from South Bend. Bob’s been able to care for himself and his children by piecing together various forms of public assistance. But Bob wants a better life for himself and his boys. I hope we’re all fighting for Bob and every American.

“Let’s resolve to fight for these people. Let’s renew our vow to fight for them more than we fight with each other.”

Senator Young closed the nearly fifteen minute remarks by reminding his colleagues that, at the end of the day, just like in non-political facets of life, we should not allow our disagreements to stand in the way of the many issues on which we agree:

“Allow me to acknowledge that folks in your States probably feel a lot like those in Indiana: they are frustrated by our federal government’s failure to live up to the high expectations Americans have for other pillars of our public life — our churches, our businesses, our state governments, and so on. Where good old Hoosier common sense seems to inform work in other areas, in Washington our common sense is too often crowded out by stale partisan battles and unyielding ideological biases.

“Colleagues, our charge, our duty, is to advance the common good by identifying common goals, and using common sense to advance those goals.

“In spite of our principled disagreements, let us disagree without questioning each other’s motives; let us work through tough problems. Let us be principled in our beliefs, but pragmatic in advancing those beliefs. Let us adapt to new realities. Let us have the courage to change our minds. Let us put results over rhetoric. Let us find practical solutions to pressing challenges. Let us, first and foremost, see ourselves as custodians of the common good.”

The full text of Senator Young’s “Maiden Speech” is available on his Medium page.

To watch the speech, click here.