Republican Whip Jon Kyl’s (AZ) first great memories of Washington and the Capitol are of working as an intern in his father’s Congressional office in the 1960s. The Senator remembers when “…you could just wander around …and get to know all of the underground tunnels and all the back ways.” His fascination with the history and grandeur of the Old Senate Chamber began at that time but was enhanced after his own election to the U.S. Senate from Arizona in 1995.
The Senator shared his reflections during the U.S. Capitol Historical Society’s 8th Annual Congressional Leadership Breakfast. This event invites an individual from the House or Senate Leadership to speak about a topic of their choosing. Leadership Council and Constantino Brumidi Society members filled the Rotunda Room of Altria Client Services, with its splendid view of the Capitol. Bank of America, Altria Client Services, and Express Scripts graciously supported the event.
The morning began with a short trivia game about the state of Arizona. USCHS Development Committee members Mike Ruehling (CSX Corporation) and Dave Regan (National Automobile Dealers Association) quizzed the audience on the state’s capital, the state motto, and other facts.
Senator Jon Kyl spoke of his favorite events occurring in the Old Senate Chamber. He discussed the 50 years the Senate met in the room, the greatest debates, dramatic moments, and poignant procession into the new Chamber immediately preceding the Civil War. He recounted a few very personal memories of current events he witnessed when the current Senate met in the Old Chamber. Senator Kyl even shared some words from the journal he kept for his grandchildren during the Clinton impeachment trial.
He concluded his remarks by reminding the audience members that “You don’t have to be a Senator to feel the awe and reverence in visiting the Old Chamber. The room is so imbued with history that I think it has an effect on everyone.”