Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse gives farewell address on Senate floor

Sasse is departing the Senate to become the University of Florida’s next president.
Sen. Ben Sasse gave his farewell address on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 2:59 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse gave his final floor speech Tuesday afternoon.

Sasse, who accepted a job to be the next president of the University of Florida, delivered his address at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

He’ll officially resign the morning of Jan. 8. Gov.-elect Jim Pillen will select Sasse’s replacement to serve the next two years in office.

LIVE: Ben Sasse gives final Senate floor speech

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse is giving his final floor speech before he resigns to head for his new job as president of the University of Florida.

Posted by 6 News WOWT on Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Sasse spoke to his colleagues for roughly 30 minutes. He began by thanking his children and his wife for all their sacrifices over the last eight years in office.

“And most importantly Melissa, I’ve missed hundreds and hundreds of family dinners,” Sasse said. “The good and bad. The tears and the laughter at that table. I want to thank you for loving me and forgiving me for those missed dinners. For your giant brain and your bigger heart. For your conviction and love and for passing on an inheritance of liberty to the next generation. And for a shared growth mindset. I know you’ll kick my butt if I tear up.”

Sasse spent much of his speech talking about the future, how he believes the optimists and the doers will help America become a better version of itself.

He also chastised the institution itself, explaining how the founders never intended to create career politicians.

“Here’s the good news our ears need to hear. Americans overwhelmingly don’t want power to be at the center of our shared experience. They don’t want a leftwing nanny state telling them how to live and they certainly don’t want a rightwing potentate to promise to crush our so-called domestic enemies. We want America to be America again.”

Sasse’s philosophy that we all need to be lifelong learners helped him get the job at the University of Florida.

His resignation from the Senate is official Sunday morning. Governor-elect Pillen will be governor by then and gets to choose who fills the seat for the next two years.

Many political experts 6 News has talked with say they’d be surprised if it wasn’t Pete Ricketts who is appointed.