Hoeven Delivers George Washington's Farewell Address

Senator Joins Two North Dakotans in Senate Tradition Dating Back to 1862

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today delivered President George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address on the floor of the U.S. Senate to honor the nation’s first president. Hoeven was selected to read the Address in the annual bipartisan Senate tradition, dating back more than 150 years. 

“As the Father of our Country, the good counsel of George Washington continues to guide and inspire our great nation today,” said Hoeven. “His words, while penned almost 220 years ago, remind us of the rich heritage our nation is founded upon and the leaders that sacrificed so much to give us freedom. Washington was a leader in every sense of the word – he led soldiers, patriots and politicians – and always with humility and courage. After two terms in office, he declined the appeals of supporters to serve a third term, and in so doing, set a precedent for the democratic transfer of power for future generations. It is an honor and a privilege to read the words of our first president today to honor George Washington’s lasting legacy.”

The first reading of the Address dates back to 1862 during the Civil War era. Every year since 1896, a senator has been selected, alternating between political parties, to deliver the Farewell Address in honor of Washington’s Birthday. Following the speech, the designated senator also signs a leather-bound book, which contains the signatures and brief remarks from each senator who has delivered the speech dating back to 1900. For more information about Washington’s Farewell Address and the Senate’s traditional reading, click here.    

Hoeven is the third Senator from North Dakota to deliver the Address. Senator Porter J. McCumber read the speech in 1908 and Senator Quentin Burdick delivered the speech in 1970.