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Bill Nelson implores Senate: ‘move beyond a politics that aims not just to defeat but to destroy’

The outgoing Democrat gave the first of what he said will be several speeches before he vacates his seat in January.
Sen. Bill  Nelson
Sen. Bill Nelson
Published Nov. 26, 2018

Say no to off-shore drilling, protect Social Security and Medicare, make it easier to vote and find common ground with each other.

That's the message Sen. Bill Nelson had Monday for the colleagues he'll soon leave behind.

Addressing the Senate for the first time since losing his re-election bid to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, the Democratic Senator reiterated much of what he said in a concession message last week to supporters.

But he added a call for the next Senate — and its next Senator — to protect Florida's environment and its coastline from pollution.

"I have seen the blue brilliance of the Earth from the edge of the heavens," Nelson said, referring, as he so often does, to his space flight 30 years ago, "and I will fight on to save this planet, our homes, and our cities from the spreading plague of greenhouse gases that infect our atmosphere and play havoc with our weather and risk the planet, our children and grandchildren will inherit."

Nelson, who lost a bruising campaign to Scott in one of the country's most expensive races, also called for a return to civility in politics and the Senate.

"We have to move beyond a politics that aims not just to defeat but to destroy," Nelson said, "where truth is treated as disposable, where falsehoods abound, and the free press is assaulted as the enemy of the people."

Nelson said he has several more speeches planned before he leaves for good in January.

"There are great decisions ahead that will shape the course and character of America in the 21st century," Nelson said. "Whether an institution such as this congress will be effective in the future is whether the people that make up this institution can get along."