November 17, 2022

Young Honors Rex Early on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) spoke on the Senate floor about the life and legacy of Rex Early, who passed away last week after a long battle with illness. Rex was a Marine and longtime community and political leader in Indiana.

To watch the full floor speech, click here.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Last week, Indiana lost a legend and America lost a true original.

Rex Early died Friday at age 88 after a long battle with illness.

Rex was a lot of things in life. He was a Marine. He was Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. He was a candidate for governor. He was one of the few people in Indiana you had to go see if you wanted to run for public office.

But he will be remembered mostly for his sense of humor. His way with words.

Many of his stories and Rex-isms can be found in his book, “It’s a Might Thin Pancake That Don’t Have Two Sides.”

After being stationed in Japan in the Marine Corps, Rex went to Indiana University on the GI Bill. He married his sweetheart Barbara and they moved to Indianapolis.

Rex said that when he first went to register to vote in Indianapolis, the Ward Chairman said, “Do you want to be a precinct committeeman? The last guy just went to jail.” Rex said “Sure,” and that’s how he got involved in local politics.

Rex said that one of the highlights of his career came during Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, when Rex hosted an event at his home for the future president.

Rex said he was considering hanging a plaque that read “On May 4, 1980, Ronald Reagan used this bathroom.”

But as Reagan left his house that day, Governor Reagan told Rex, “All those people were wrong.”

Rex said, “What people?”

And Governor Reagan said, “All the people who said you had no class.”

So Rex decided not to hang that plaque in his bathroom.

The Republican Party in Indiana today has enjoyed long period of governing success, helping our state become one of the best run and most fiscally sound in the nation. And you can trace that success directly back to work Rex Early put in in the early 1990s.

One of Rex’s 19 Rules of Politics was “You might be important, but the number of people who will attend your funeral will be dictated by the weather.”

Don’t think too highly of yourself. Don’t become – as Rex would call you a “sophisti-suck.”

But I disagree with him on his point. Rex’s memorial service was well-attended. Not because the weather was good.

But because he made an indelible impression on everyone he met.

Semper Fi, Rex.