Continuing tradition, Sen. Mark Warner talking up federal workers

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) continues a tradition started in 2009 by former senator Ted Kaufman.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) continues a tradition started in 2009 by former senator Ted Kaufman. (Associated Press)
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By Ed O'Keefe
Thursday, March 3, 2011; 8:00 PM

Continuing a tradition launched by a former colleague, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) plans to regularly highlight the work of rank-and-file federal workers in his Senate floor speeches.

The tradition began in 2009 when former senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) - who served out the remainder of Vice President Biden's term - began speaking each week that the Senate was in session about the work and experience of longtime federal employees. Warner vowed to continue the tradition when Kaufman retired last year.

On Thursday, Virginia's junior senator touted Robert Benzon of Fredericksburg, Va., a senior investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board who helped develop safety recommendations for aircraft rudder systems, fuel tanks and the collection of information from "black box" flight recorders, according to Warner's office.

"Each day we set foot on an airplane and arrive safely at our destination, we have Robert Benzon and his team to thank," Warner said.

Thursday's address was Warner's fourth on the topic, according to his office. He's also discussed the careers of NASA engineer Clint Cragg, part of a team that helped save the 33 trapped Chilean miners, and Food and Drug Administration drug compliance office director Deborah Autor, who's worked on minimizing exposure to ineffective drugs. An early January address was devoted to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), her staffers and the service of thousands of current and former congressional staffers.

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