Pelosi Remarks at Barry Goldwater Statue Dedication

February 11, 2015
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke in Statuary Hall today at the dedication ceremony for a statue of Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Good afternoon, everyone. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Leader, Mr. Whip, Senator McCain, Congressman Grijalva, Members of the Arizona congressional delegation, the Secretary of State of Arizona, it’s an honor to be here with each and everyone one of you on this very special day.  It is a special day, indeed, when we gather in Statuary Hall to welcome Senator Barry Goldwater back to the Capitol.


“As our Speaker said, these statues here are sent from each of the 50 states, and the statues in this collection are more than just a catalogue of people who have shaped our history.  They celebrate the full breadth of ideas and principles that have blossomed within America’s democracy.

“Today, we welcome the statue of a proud son of Arizona; a loving father and grandfather with legendary dedication to family – and we are honored to have so many Goldwater family members here today for this ceremony.  Thank you very much for being with us.


“Here in the heart of our democracy, we unveil the statue of an Army Air Force pilot who served our country during World War Two; a public servant who served the people of Arizona in the United States Senate for 30 years; an outspoken, uncompromising champion for what he believed.

“As a student, I had the privilege of meeting him and hearing him speak at Trinity College here in Washington.  He was great and he was funny.  Whether or not you agree with him, there can be little debate that Senator Barry Goldwater was one of the most consequential political figures of the last half of the 20th century – and that’s an applause line.

[Laughter, Applause]

“Senator Goldwater’s speech to the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco was as bold an articulation of conservatism as there has ever been.  Yet, Barry Goldwater also defied expectations.  He opposed efforts to restrict women’s reproductive rights, to the point – listen up – to the point where the Planned Parenthood Federation of America created an award in his name.


“He sought to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military, early, a visionary, and called for an end to discrimination against LGBT people here at home and around the globe.  As he told the Washington Post in 1994, ‘The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world [...] quit discriminating against people just because they're gay.’  Barry Goldwater.


“Barry Goldwater refused to compromise his principles, not for party, not for position.  But he also recognized the value of open, candid discussion about the direction of our country.

“For in the same convention speech in San Francisco, my city, Senator Goldwater affirmed his respect for the disagreement and debate that are the strength and soul of our democracy.  He said, ‘The beauty of this Federal system of ours is in its reconciliation of diversity with unity.’ ‘We must not see malice in honest differences of opinion … no matter how great.’

“Today, we gather in the recognition that our democracy is robust precisely because we have beliefs – and we stand proudly, even persistently for them, just as Barry Goldwater did so well.  Today, the Congress proudly honors Senator Goldwater with respect, with admiration – even with affection – not only for who he was a leader, but who he was as a person.  Thank you.”