After 18 years, Sen. Lamar Alexander bid farewell to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
The senior senator from Tennessee chose not to seek reelection this year so he could spend more time at his Maryville home with his wife, Honey, and the rest of his family.
His message to his colleagues was to focus on working together, to put the country before partisanship for the greater good of the United States.
"Our country needs a U.S. Senate to work across party lines to force broad agreements on hard issues," he said. "Creating laws that most of us have voted for and that a diverse country will accept."
He urged the senators to work across party lines more often to solve big problems. He said he woke up every day thinking he might do something that day to help our country and went to bed each night thinking he had.
"It's hard to get here, hard to stay here. While we're here, we might as well try to accomplish something good while we're here," he said.
Many of his colleagues and friends, including Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Chuck Schumer, spoke of Alexander's many accomplishments and how much they would miss his leadership in Washington, DC.
Alexander ended his address by saying, "It's a privilege to be a U.S. Senator. I yield the floor."
He received a standing ovation as he returned to his seat, followed by more praise from his colleagues, including fellow Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn.
You can see Alexander's remarks, as well as hear what others said about him, in the video below:
Alexander was first elected to the senate in 2002 and has been re-elected twice.
Most recently, Alexander chaired the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
He previously served as governor of Tennessee from 1979-1987. He was also president of the University of Tennessee and U.S. Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty will succeed Alexander in the U.S. Senate.