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Senate Voices: Maiden speeches

Photo of Stewart McClure

“'Senator, I'll tell you when to speak. This is not the time.'"

Stewart E. McClure: Chief Clerk, Senate Committee on Labor, Education, and Public Welfare

McClure recalls how his boss, freshman Democrat Guy Gillette, was instructed by Republican senator Hiram Johnson on when to make his maiden speech.


In those days, people would send out letters to their colleagues to announce they were going to go make their maiden speech."

William F. Hildenbrand: Secretary of the Senate

Interviewed in 1985, Hildenbrand recalls the bygone Senate custom of new senators refraining from speechmaking during their first year in office.

Photo of Richard Arenberg

He just had something to say and he went down and said it."

Richard A. Arenberg: Staff to Senators Paul Tsongas, George Mitchell and Carl Levin

Arenberg describes how Senator Paul Tsongas' unconventional maiden Senate speech upset his senior colleague from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy.