Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Honoring Senator Johnny Isakson’s Years of Service
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
In this town of Washington, D.C., where a lot of people think they are the most important person in the room, Johnny Isakson is known for his unassuming manner.
He’s unfailingly kind and considerate to senators and staff alike.
In fact, my staff told me a story where he came to the Senate Finance Committee when I was chairman previously and asked to speak to a member of my tax staff.
The staff assistant didn’t recognize him, and when asked who he was with, he simply said, “Senator Isakson.”
It wasn’t until my tax staffer came out that he realized it was Senator Isakson himself.
Throughout my Senate career, it’s safe to say when it comes to me, all roads lead to Iowa.
And Johnny is no exception.
Johnny has a close friendship with the famous Knapp family of Des Moines, Iowa.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “How in the world does a southern boy from Georgia get acquainted with Iowans?”
Well, for Johnny a common answer is, the golf course.
That’s where he first became friends with the Knapp brothers, Paul and Bill.
Johnny delivered a eulogy at Paul’s funeral in 2008. Paul and his wife Carol were friends of the Isakson’s for more than two decades.
Paul’s brother, Bill, is a senior statesman of the Democratic Party of Iowa.
But, partisan glasses won’t fool commonsense Iowans, particularly when it comes to Johnny’s charm and big heart.
Johnny reminds me that he was the first Republican Bill ever supported.
I guess Johnny beat me to the punch.
Today, Johnny said Iowa produces some of the finest people he knows.
But, today I say that Georgia produces very fine people, as well.
And at the top of my list is Johnny Isakson.
Johnny brings a smile to each person he encounters when he walks the halls of the Senate.
As a result, he will be greatly missed by everyone.
That includes me, and our fellow colleagues.
But, it also includes the young staffers who answer the phone, and the support staff who clean the bathrooms.
Johnny is always interested in how you are doing and has a word of encouragement to share.
He’s a workhorse, not a show horse.
No one can doubt Johnny Isakson’s dedication to the people of Georgia and the United States, not to mention our country’s veterans.
He is a true public servant.
I am proud to have served with him.
I am sorry to see Johnny go, but I wish him and his wife Dianne the best as he steps back from public life.