Mr. President, we have heard a lot of people honoring our wonderful colleague Senator Begich today. We are all going to miss him dearly. We are especially going to miss him in Minnesota. I have heard many positive statements about Alaska today, but no one can come from a State where they can say they have one of the main streets in Anchorage named after them; that is, Minnesota Street in Anchorage.

That is because there are many Minnesotans. Believe it or not, it was not cold enough in Minnesota so they moved to Alaska. One of those people who moved to Alaska was Mark's dad. Mark's dad actually grew up about 30 miles away from my dad. It is rough-and-tumble country up in the Iron Range of Minnesota. Mark still has relatives in northern Minnesota, and particularly he has an uncle named Uncle Joe--Joe Begich--who served in the legislature for many years and also 
is a Korean War vet and was truly the heart and soul of the Iron Range delegation in the Minnesota State legislature.

For any of our colleagues who think Mark Begich is a character, they should meet his Uncle Joe. I know Uncle Joe. I hope he is watching because nothing made him happier than the day Mark Begich got elected to the Senate.

And when MARK once came up there with me and we were greeted by Uncle Joe, it was like a hero's welcome when Mark Begich appeared on the Iron Range of Minnesota. People came out, and we did an event with veterans. Then, of course, the problem was we went to a bar, and we could get no pictures that didn't have a Budweiser sign on them. 

But MARK is a hero up there, and he is a hero across our State just for the work he has done for rural communities. When I say we have rural communities in Minnesota, he always says we have extreme rural communities in Alaska. 

He has done work in conservation, which we care about so much. He has done work on tourism. We are cochairs of the tourism caucus, and I still remember the hearing we had right in the middle of the downturn, where every Senator came to talk about all of the things that were happening in their States with tourism. MARK was actually able to cite the price of cruises you could take in Alaska. It was written up in the Washington Post about all the Senators hawking their States, but no one 
was prouder to hawk Alaska. 

The other thing about MARK, which I know was mentioned, is he doesn't believe politics is about standing in the opposite corner of the boxing ring. He believes politics is about working together in the middle and trying to find common ground. 

The last thing I will say is how much we love Deborah and Jacob, and we know we will see them around and they are not going to go away. 

One time Deborah, Jacob, and MARK came over to our house for brunch. My daughter is about 6 years older now. She was about 13. Jacob and my daughter were playing a game in the other room, and the adults were talking over breakfast. I will never forget Jacob Begich. From the other room, he heard his dad talking about him and, as any politician's kid would do, he said: Stop talking about me, dad. So that kid has inherited that Mark Begich sense of fierce independence. When he left, 
my daughter said: I love that kid, mom. He knows how hard it is to be a politician's kid. 

So MARK has left here the legacy of Alaska, the legacy of good work, the legacy of a great staff, and the legacy of a great family. So we will see you around, and thank you for your service.