Charleston, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant joined state and national leaders today in honoring Senator Robert C. Byrd, who became the longest serving member in the history of the US Congress.
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant signs a proclamation creating "Senator Robert C. Byrd Day" with Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, House Speaker Rick Thompson, and Governor Joe Manchin.
Byrd, who was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1952, and then to the US Senate in 1958, has served West Virginia for 56 years, 320 days. That surpasses the record set by Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona, who served from 1912 to 1969.
The Senator was honored during a ceremony at the Capitol, at the foot of the statue dedicated when Byrd was named “West Virginian of the 20th Century.”
His accomplishments in Washington are legendary. He served as Senate Majority Whip from 1971 to 1977, Senate Minority Leader from 1981 to 1987, and Senate Majority Leader from 1977 to 1981 and again from 1987 to 1989. Byrd is the current President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, a position he has held four times. He is currently third in the Presidential line of succession, behind Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Byrd ran for President in 1976.
Secretary Tennant and Governor Joe Manchin signed a proclamation at today’s ceremony marking the occasion.
“It is such an honor to sign this proclamation for Senator Byrd,” Tennant said. “It’s really impossible to thank him for everything he has done for our state. He has represented us admirably, and I congratulate him on becoming the longest serving member in the history of the United State Congress.”
Governor Manchin said Byrd possessed a “strong moral compass.”
“What a remarkable national milestone we are celebrating today,” Manchin said. “Our senior Senator becomes the longest serving member of Congress in the history of the United States government.”
State Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin and Speaker of the House of Delegates Rick Thompson each read proclamations passed the day Byrd became the longest serving member of Congress.
This week marks two milestones for Byrd. He turns 92 on Friday, November 20. The ceremony ended with Manchin, First Lady Gayle Manchin, Tennant, her daughter Delaney, and other state leaders singing “Happy Birthday.”
Manchin ended the song by adding: “And many more!”