In 100 years, Arizona has elected just 10 people to the U.S. Senate. In November, Jeff Flake became the 11th member of that small club.
When he delivered his first Senate floor speech on Tuesday he mentioned the influence those who came before him have had on him and the entire country.
Flake also used his speech to talk about the U.S. House, where he spent more than a decade. He told the Senate that, by design, the House is a partisan body. He also counseled the 99 other members of the Senate to stay away from party labels when possible.
“Now is not the time for this institution to retreat into irrelevance," Fl;ake said, "where the sum of our influence is to sign off on another continuing resolution to fund the government for six more months, where success is measured by how well our tracks are covered when the debt ceiling is raised, where prioritizing spending cuts are accomplished by invoking another sequester.
"No, we’ve been there, done that. It is time now for the Senate to lead.”
In recent weeks, the political left has heavily criticized Flake for his vote against universal background checks on gun sales. Opponents have accused him of voting with the Republican Party instead of for what they say is a good bill.