Reps. Adrian Smith and Jeff Fortenberry spoke Wednesday on the House floor in memory of Ambassador Clayton Yeutter. Here are their remarks:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I rise in memory of Ambassador Clayton Yeutter, a native of Eustis, Nebraska, who recently passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
Mr. Yeutter was a true statesman who generously shared his time and expertise throughout his very remarkable career.
On top of his numerous professional accomplishments, Mr. Yeutter was known as a humble, kind, and respected leader who never lost sight of his commitment to rural America.
No one understood the importance of trade to American agriculture better than he did, and his work has benefited generations of Nebraska agriculture producers as well as others across the country.
Mr. Yeutter grew up on a cattle and corn operation in central Nebraska during the Great Depression.
He attended the University of Nebraska, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry, and later a J.D. and a Ph.D in Agricultural Economics.
After serving in the Air Force in the 1950s and returning home to work on his farm, he got his start in politics as Chief of Staff for Nebraska Governor Norbert Tiemann in the mid-1960s.
Soon, he was named director of the Nebraska Mission to Colombia, which led him to the USDA and decades of distinguished public service.
His extensive resume included serving as U.S. Trade Representative under President Ronald Reagan and Agriculture Secretary under President George H.W. Bush.
He also ran the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for eight years and served as chairman of the Republican National Committee.
As we mourn the loss of this influential Nebraskan, I extend my condolences to Mr. Yeutter’s wife, Cristena, and his children, grandchildren, and great-granddaughter as well.
At this time, I’d like to yield to my colleague from Nebraska, Mr. Fortenberry.
I thank my friend Congressman Adrian Smith for the time, and I thank him, more importantly, for honoring the life and memory of our mutual good friend, Clayton Yeutter.
In my desk in my office, there’s a letter. It was written to me by Clayton Yeutter, former Secretary of Agriculture, a couple years ago.
Of course, we all receive a lot of letters, but sometimes you get one that you just want to keep close to you.
Clayton Yeutter was a gentleman, he was a farmer from Nebraska, and he was a true statesman.
In that letter, he basically kindly and gently encouraged me in public service. He was the ideal public servant. He expressed his sentiments to me personally, and in his public life, with a great nobility, a great yearning and care for our country.
He committed himself in multiple ways to serving our institutions of governance, but he never forgot his humble roots back in Nebraska.
So, I simply wanted to say well done, good and faithful servant Clayton Yeutter, my friend, and thank you Congressman Smith for honoring his life.
Thank you. I can’t say enough to honor a true giant in public service as Secretary Yeutter, Ambassador Yeutter, the list goes on of his many titles.
An incredible man, his humility did so much for our country.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.