Statement on the passing of Senator Baker June 26, 2014 : 5:40 PM

I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great Tennessean and valued friend, Senator Howard Baker. Throughout his years of service to our state and nation, Senator Baker distinguished himself as a leader of rare caliber. Highly respected by both sides of the aisle, he was a voice of reason, especially in some of our country's darkest hours.

I had the honor of serving with Senator Baker when I was in the U. S. House of Representatives and then, when he chose not to run for re-election, succeeding him in the U. S. Senate. I was also proud to serve on the board of the Baker Center at the University of Tennessee. The Center continues to reflect its namesake, as an institution of the highest political, ethical and moral values.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Senator Baker. All Americans will remember him as a great man and a great champion of our democracy.