[Congressional Record Volume 150, Number 16 (Tuesday, February 10, 2004)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E132-E133]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. JAMES T. WALSH

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, February 10, 2004

  Mr. WALSH. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in tribute to former Congressman 
James M. Hanley. Mr. Hanley, who died earlier this month, served eight 
terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1981. At his 
retirement at the conclusion of the 96th Congress, he was chairman of 
the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service.
   I have been fortunate to know Congressman Hanley throughout my life, 
as he was a resident of the same Tipperary Hill neighborhood in 
Syracuse, NY, in which I grew up. A graduate of St. Lucy's Academy in 
Syracuse and a veteran of World War II, Congressman Hanley won an upset 
election for Congress in 1964 based upon his reputation as an active 
community leader and successful businessman.
  Mr. Hanley translated the keys to his business success as a local 
funeral director into his Congressional office operations, attending to 
personal details and providing timely response to constituent requests. 
He was a thoughtful and gracious man who actively legislated on behalf 
of the best interests of the people he served.
  After his retirement, the Federal office building in downtown 
Syracuse was named James M. Hanley Federal Building by this institution 
in his honor. On behalf of the people of the central New York district 
he represented, I extend our deepest sympathies and thanks to his wife 
Rita, son Peter, daughter Christine, four grandchildren, and great-
  Mr. Speaker, I also respectfully request that remarks made during the 
Hon. James M. Hanley funeral at St. Patrick's Church in Syracuse, NY, 
be embodied into the Record. Remarks were spoken by John Mahoney, 
former Chief of Staff to the late Representative James M. Hanley:

        Thirty years or so ago, after a tough redistricting, Jim 
     ended up with a Congressional seat that ran from Oswego 
     County to the Pennsylvania border. It was so politically 
     lopsided, even the cows were enrolled Republicans.
       The campaign was brutal--16 to 20 hours a day.
       On one particular day, we started off about 6:00 a.m. at 
     the gates of Crouse Hinds, shaking hands with both the 
     graveyard shift coming off duty and the first shift going on.
       During the course of the morning, Jim did a radio talk show 
     in Syracuse, then went to a neighborhood coffee klatch in 
     Cazenovia, spoke at a service club luncheon in Norwich, and 
     met with a farm group outside Deposit. We then drove back up 
     to Oxford for a Dinner, and about 10:00 headed back toward 
     Syracuse--because we had to be at another plant gate at 6:15 
     in the morning.
       Somewhere outside of Sherburne, I found myself nodding 
     behind the wheel. Since there were just the two of us, and 
     Jim was almost asleep already, I said ``I've got to stop for 
     coffee or we'll end up in a ditch, and some farmer will find 
     us after the last snow in March.''
       As we sat at a semi-circular counter--I with my eyes at 
     half-mast, and Jim with his jaw only an inch or so off the 
     counter--I caught a glint of recognition in the eye of a 
     truck driver across from us. He sat there stirring his coffee 
     and stared at Jim's bedraggled appearance. Finally he said, 
     ``There must be some benefit to that business that I JUST 
     CAN'T SEE.''
       The mysterious benefit that he couldn't see was the very 
     benefit that I knew drove Jim Hanley. It was the opportunity 
     to serve others: the ability to stand up for the little guy.
       Jim, who was a bread-and-butter liberal of the old school, 
     saw a unique beauty in the people who were up against the 
     odds: the impoverished veteran; the kid from the ghetto who 
     had two strikes against him before he was seven; the widow 
     trying to survive on Social Security; the abused family; the 
     breadwinner broken by unemployment; the farmer driven to the 
     wall by corporate agribusiness.
       He knew that the comfortable and the connected would always 
     be able to fend for themselves. But what about those who were 
     merely guests in the world of the ``haves?'' They needed an 
     empathetic voice.
       Jim was a simple man with a knack for unraveling the 
     complicated; he was a patient man who was never very patient 
     when it came to the plight of the have-nots; he was a 
     patriotic man who wore his patriotism in

[[Page E133]]

     his heart, not on his sleeve; he was a deeply moral man who 
     disdained the outward trappings of feigned piety; he was the 
     eternal optimist in an increasingly foreboding world.
       He also believed that government was the instrument of the 
     people, not its enemy, and that some of the worst errors a 
     society could produce were sins of omission rather than sins 
     of commission.
       One might be inclined to think that today marks the end of 
     an era--but that only happens when we bury both the body and 
     the spirit--and we certainly aren't doing that today. There 
     are today literally hundreds of young and middle-aged people 
     who have been inspired by Jim's love of the little guy.
       This legacy will never die.
       And speaking of love and legacies, a subject that was 
     nearest and dearest to Jim was his family. He spoke often, 
     fondly and almost reverentially, of his mother and father, 
     Mike and Alice Gillick Hanley; and, of course, he idolized 
     Rita, Peter, Chris, and Jimmy, Jim, Patrick, Liza and Meg. 
     It's often said that God never takes someone home, but what 
     he sends a new light in his place. And so today, as Jim 
     ascends that glorious staircase, we welcome his and Rita's 
     newest heir, on month old Dylan Michael.
       A part of Jim's other family is also present this morning--
     the team who worked side by side with him on behalf of the 
     folks in Central New York. Tom DeYulia, Kate Ryan, Mike 
     Kinsella, Bob Warne, Jim Ryan and several others. I know the 
     thoughts I express are shared by each of them as well.
       I would be remiss at this point, and I know Jim would be 
     upset with me, if I didn't shift gears and include at least 
     one humorous anecdote in my remarks.
       As many of you realize, Jim was known affectionately on 
     Capitol Hill as ``Gentleman Jim.'' His civilized approach to 
     everyone he net ran to the heart of his beliefs--the dignity 
     of the individual.
       Sometimes that philosophy took on comical overtones.
       Jim knew that one of the highest forms of respect was 
     remembering another's first name. He had a legendary 
     reputation for that.
       What many people didn't realize was that Jim had a slight 
     impairment in one ear and so sometimes his hearing was 
       He remembered what he heard, but he didn't always hear 
     names correctly.
       One day at the Capitol, I was approached by an old friend, 
     Dick Conlon, who was the staff director on one of the 
     committees. He said, ``John I have a favor to ask. Jim is 
     always very gracious to me. He goes out of his way to stop 
     and chat. But he invariably calls me Bill--and it's 
     embarrassing--especially if someone else is present.'' I said 
     I'd take care of it, and proceeded to explain the situation 
     to Jim. Jim said, ``I always thought his name was Bill.'' I 
     repeated that it was Dick.
       A week or so later Conlon stopped me again, and with a 
     shrug of disappointment said, ``Thanks a lot. Hanley came up 
     to a group of us yesterday, smiled and stuck out his hand to 
     me, paused for a second or two and, then said `Hi, uh, Tom. 
     Keep up the good work.' ''
       At this point, I think its time for me to depart 
     gracefully. I have been blessed with the friendship and trust 
     of one of God's truly fine men.
       Jim, thanks for the chance to share in a beautiful life.
       In your own words, ```Till then . . .''