WATCH: Sen. Mark Kelly Delivers Maiden Speech on Floor of U.S. Senate

Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly delivered his first speech on the floor of the United States Senate since he was sworn in on December 2nd, 2020. His speech kept with the Senate tradition of giving an official “Maiden Speech” early during a Senator’s first term. Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Senator John McCain, attended Kelly’s speech as his distinguished guest and received a standing ovation from the Senate.

In his maiden speech, Kelly highlighted how he has worked with Republicans and Democrats to beat this virus, rebuild and reinvent Arizona’s economy for the future, and creating good-paying jobs while getting Arizonans the technical training and skills they need to succeed. 

Sen. Kelly delivers his maiden speech on the Senate floor.

See key excerpts of the speech below: 

On his approach to serving in the Senate: 

[1:17]:…Because we can’t just rebuild our economy the way it was before – we have to reinvent it to create the jobs of the future – goodpaying jobs that you can actually raise a family on.

It’s a long to-do list, but hey I’m used to those. The checklist for flying the space shuttle stands about six feet tall. 

The Senate, though, is not NASA. It doesn’t move as fast. And it’s not the United States Navy, either, where everyone works together towards a common goal. 

But, my wife Gabby taught me a thing or two about how to listen, and how to find common ground. […]

On Working on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill:

[8:01]It’s clear that Arizona will benefit from upgrading and modernizing our infrastructure. That’s why, for the past few months, I’ve been working with a group of Republicans and Democrats to come to an agreement on a historic investment in our infrastructure. I advocated for Arizona’s priorities, and we worked together to find common ground and work out our differences.  And now, we are on the verge of passing it.

This is going to fix roads and bridges, improve tribal water and transportation infrastructure, expand affordable high-speed internet access, and make Arizona more resilient to drought and wildfires.

I’ve been determined to deliver these infrastructure investments that Arizona needs to continue to grow, and attract new and innovative companies to our state.

On Getting Arizonans the Skills they Need: 

[11:39]: Advanced manufacturing facilities like the microchip fabs that I mentioned earlier, for those we need well-trained semiconductor processors. And we need electricians. We need HVAC technicians. These are good-paying careers for those who get the skills and training that they need. And right now, a lot of young Arizonans are getting those skills through our community college system. […]

Pima Community College’s Chancellor, Chancellor Lambert, calls this much-needed approach, “moving at the speed of business.” And what he means is our education system must meet the demands of today’s workforce. And that has to be the case not just in major metro areas, but in rural Arizona as well, and in rural America.

On Working to Pass Microchip Manufacturing Legislation: 

[9:23]: There is currently a global shortage of microchips, and the truth is today that just 12% of them are manufactured here in the United States. It used to be 40%. Many foreign competitors, including China, are investing heavily to try to dominate this industry. Now, Arizona does manufacture a lot of microchips. It already employs about 30,000 people in good-paying jobs in this industry. […] Arizona can lead the way as we restore more microchip manufacturing and development to American soil.

That’s the goal of this $52 billion plan that I spent months working on with Senators Cornyn and Warner – to create new advanced manufacturing facilities, or fabs, in places like Arizona. I made it my mission to get this passed through the Senate.

On Senator McCain and Bipartisanship:

[14:57]: Finding common ground on issues like this is hard. But it’s important. Like many of you, I spent years admiring the way the late Senator John McCain represented Arizona in the Senate. My first impressions of John McCain were not of him as a senator, but of his service in the Navy. […]

His legacy means so much to the state of Arizona. And it lives on through his children and his wife Cindy – who I am so grateful to have here today in the gallery. It’s not something that can be matched. But it is what inspires me serving in his Senate seat. And it’s his example of bipartisanship, of independence, that continues to demand more of us…

To watch the full speech, click here. To read the full transcript of Kelly’s remarks as delivered, click here 

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