Sen. Patrick J. Leahy cast his 15,000th vote Tuesday, joining an exclusive club in Senate history.
The Vermont Democrat's first vote came in 1975 on a resolution to establish the Church Committee. His 15,000th vote was on an amendment to cybersecurity legislation, and vote No. 15,001 came on his own amendment. In a statement, Leahy offered a long list of his most memorable votes, but it was two war votes that stood out — and provided context for the length of his tenure: "Opposing the war in Iraq, a venture that cost so many lives, and trillions of taxpayer dollars. And I was proud to be the first Vermonter to cast a vote, in the Armed Services Committee, to end the War in Vietnam."
Leahy, 75, joins five other senators in the 15,000 club: Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., cast 18,689 votes; Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., cast 16,348 votes; Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, cast 16,300 votes; Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., cast 15,236 votes; and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, cast 15,033 votes.
Leahy Joins 15,000-Vote Club
Four other active senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have cast at least 10,000 votes, a mark surpassed by only 31 senators ever .
"I am so grateful to my fellow Vermonters for the confidence they have shown in me," Leahy said in a statement. "It is a measure of trust that urges me on, and which I will never betray, or take for granted. Reflecting on the past 15,000 votes reminds me about the significance every time we vote, why I feel energized about what votes lie ahead and how we can keep making a difference."
Leahy is completing his seventh Senate term and is expected to run for re-election next year.
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