Senator strikes back at fed bashers

Tuesday - 7/7/2009, 1:36pm EDT

Ted Kaufman

He's loud, he's proud, but he's not here for long.

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The junior Senator from Delaware is forming a one-man band to sing the praises of federal workers.

"I've got a great product in terms of the federal employees out there and I'm trying to do my little bit to get everybody in America to understand what great federal employees we have," Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) tells FederalNewsRadio.

Kaufman assumed the seat vacated by Vice-president Joe Biden in the Senate in January. By the end of business today, the Washington Post reports Kaufman will have taken to the floor of the Senate eleven times to praise the work of a federal employee. He plans, according to the paper, to "continue with similar stories until his term ends in 2011."

After more than 30 years spent in and around the federal government, Kaufman tells FederalNewsRadio the fed-bashing got to him. "It's just one of those things that people do that just really annoys me, and that's frankly one of the great things about being a Senator: when something annoys you, you can do something about it."

So now Kaufman takes to the floor of the Senate every week to highlight the efforts of a federal employee.

I've just been kind of annoyed, to put it mildly, at what's been going on the last 20-some years of denigrating federal employees and I just find federal employees to be extraordinarily well qualified, competent, smart -- I spent a number of years in the private sector. I don't see a whole lot of difference, frankly, between the private sector employees and federal employees in terms of their competence and ability and how much they care about what they do. And in fact with federal employees I see a little bit more "I'm trying to something to make the world a better place" so it just bothered me for many years, and now that I'm a Senator I just think that this is the best way that I can kind of shine a light on the myriad of federal employees who do a great job.

The Post reports "Kaufman says he will keep talking about rank-and-file federal employees even if it scores him few political points." But Kaufman isn't here to score points by praising feds. Heeding the old Turkish proverb "if you speak the truth, keep a foot in the stirrup," Kaufman has already said he will not run in next year's special election to finish out Biden's term, which expires in 2014.

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On the Web:

Ted Kaufman - kaufman.senate.gov

Washington Post - The Senate's Champion of Civil Service

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