In an emotional farewell address, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., today encouraged fellow lawmakers to heed their oath of office, saying it doesn’t include securing goodies for their home states.
Coburn, perhaps best known for combating government waste, took to the Senate floor for his remarks. The Oklahoma Republican reminded colleagues that they take an oath to “protect the United States of America, its Constitution and its liberties.”
What is not included, Coburn said, is a requirement for senators to “provide benefits to your state.”
“It’s nice to be able to do things for your state, but that isn’t our charge,” he said. “Our charge is to protect the future of our country by upholding the Constitution and ensuring the liberty that’s guaranteed there is protected and preserved.”
Coburn, a physician elected to the Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010, had announced in January that he would retire before the end of his second term.
Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, a former senator representing South Carolina, saluted his parting message.
“Today Congress bids farewell to a great champion for liberty,” DeMint said. “Sen. Tom Coburn reminded his colleagues — myself included — to be ever vigilant in spending the resources of Congress’ employers, the American people.”