Pelosi Floor Speech Honoring the Life of Congressman Lane Evans

November 13, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today honoring the life of Congressman Lane Evans, who passed away last week at the age of 63.

“Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.  Mr. Speaker, I’m here to join the distinguished delegation from Illinois, especially Congresswoman Bustos, who represents a district in Congress that was once also magnificently represented by Congressman Lane Evans.

“So it is with great sadness that I come to the floor to join his colleagues: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Danny Davis, who served with him, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and others.  Thank you, Congresswoman Bustos, for bringing us together to honor the life, service and leadership of Congressman Lane Evans, who passed away this month at the age of 63.

“He was the Ranking Member on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and served our veterans so well.  He served our country in uniform, he served our country in the Congress, and he served our country in the community.  He was just a great person, and we were honored to call him colleague; many of us privileged to call him friend.

“The son of a firefighter and a nurse, Lane was born and raised in the district he represented here for 24 years.  From his service in the Marines – and he was proud of that –  to his work as an attorney with the Western Illinois University’s Legal Assistance Fund, to his time in the House, Lane spent his life fighting for those who could not fight for themselves.

“Each and every day, Lane Evans fought to strengthen the middle class and to expand the ladders of opportunity that define the American Dream.  He stood strong and resolute against efforts to privatize Social Security.  That was one of his fights here.

“As a Vietnam-era veteran who served on Okinawa, Lane took the struggles of our military families personally.

“It is especially fitting that we honor Lane today and this week, as we observe Veterans Day – for he was one of the House’s most dedicated legislators to those who served our country in uniform, and as I said, a leader on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

“From his position as Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs committee, Lane worked relentlessly to ensure that veterans of all generations would receive the support and benefits they deserve.  He championed veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injury, and was instrumental in passing legislation to assist veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

“But on the subject of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injury, Lane had whatever symptoms he had of his service to our country.  And as the Ranking Member, he traveled the country.  I had the privilege, on a number of occasions, to welcome him at Fort Miley – our veterans’ hospital in San Francisco – and the way he connected with the veterans, because he understood, he shared their pain, literally shared their pain.  And he fought for all kinds of research into the hidden injuries of war that we now know so much more about.  But there in that hospital, we had not only met the needs of our veterans, but we had tremendous research – whether it was about Parkinson’s or other traumatic brain injury.

“He was a champion for our veterans, our military families and hardworking people across America.  He was so proud of his district and many of us had the privilege of being invited there to join his constituents in honoring him.  And it was just an all-American experience, to see people of all walks of life, honoring this great man – and of course his colleagues from the military being a very important part of it.

“Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995, Congressman Evans continued to serve the people of his district for another 12 years.  He was determined to make a difference and help create a better world for the next generation – and he surely has left our country stronger for his having served it.  He was a pioneer in terms of the hidden wounds of war for our soldiers.

“Today, we remember his courage, his commitment, his vision, his beautiful smile, his lovely personality, and his gracious – being, his strong – commitment to our veterans.  We hope that it is a comfort to his brothers and loved ones that so many here in this body and around the world mourn their and loss pray for them – but feel very strengthened as a country because of the blessing of Lane Evans’ life to us.

“So again, I thank Congresswoman Cheri Bustos for bringing us together to honor this great man.  And it is my privilege to join the Members of the Illinois delegation, and other Members who will be on the floor to honor Lane.  He was a proud son of Illinois – that’s for sure.  I remember seeing him in Moline, just so proud – so proud of his district, of his constituents, and they were all, in turn, as we are – proud of him.”