Senator Wicker Honors Senator Inhofe On Senate Floor

July 9, 2024

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., delivered remarks on the Senate floor honoring former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Jim Inhofe, who passed away this morning. Remarks as delivered are below:

I rise this morning to discuss national defense, and in particular, the importance of the NATO alliance, as quite a number of our friends in NATO have arrived in Washington to celebrate the 75th annual meeting of this important defense organization.

And I can hardly talk about national defense, and NATO, and the importance of keeping our defenses strong without calling attention to the sad fact that our former colleague, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, passed away this morning.

I am told that Senators Lankford and Mullin will seek recognition at a later time to speak extensively about this remarkable statesman who has passed from among us.

Members will be notified of when that might be, should they want to join in.

But at this point – at this pivotal moment, when I wish to talk about national defense – let me just say a word or two about my friend and colleague of 30 years, Jim Inhofe.

As a young man – as a young family man – Jim Inhofe quickly learned how to build a business and create jobs, and he did so successfully. Only a few years later as a municipal leader, he found out how to build consensus. And he took that knowledge with him to Capitol Hill as a member of the House of Representatives and then as our colleague here in the United States Senate. And Jim Inhofe demonstrated that he continued to know how to build consensus and get things done for his fellow Oklahomans, as well as for his fellow Americans.

Anyone who knew Jim Inhofe knew that he was a dedicated Christian. Jim Inhofe was a man of great faith, with, in particular, a heart for Sub-Saharan Africa.

He visited there countless times, encouraged numerous – probably hundreds – of his fellow Senators and Representatives – to accompany him to visit some of the most challenged countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. He hosted countless prayer breakfasts there. He got to know the leaders in those countries and their families by name. He was a remarkable Christian friend to those in Africa.

Jim Inhofe was an accomplished pilot. He flew solo around the world at age 56. As a Member of Congress, he was known as a straight shooter who was not afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom, as he did so on numerous occasions.

Jim and his wife Kay were married for 64 years. Together, they had four children, and 12 grandchildren, one of whom they found, and adopted, and rescued during a trip to Africa. I would mention that Kay Inhofe has been a special friend and advisor to my wife, Gayle, for these decades.

Again, I’m informed that Senators Lankford and Mullin will lead a fuller discussion of this remarkable statesman who has passed from among us. But today as I talk about national defense and NATO, I send my love and we in the Senate send our love and condolences to the entire family – and to the state he loved, Oklahoma.