Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

CLAY WALKER

May 22 2008

Madam Speaker, it has been said that a real leader faces the music, even when he doesn't like the tune. Country music superstar Clay Walker has heard sour notes in his life before, but like a real leader he has stood strong and fought for what he believes is right. Because of his tireless dedication to fighting and finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis he has earned the title of Artist Humanitarian of the Year for 2008 by the Country Radio Broadcasters.

Clay was born in Beaumont, TX, where country music is king. He was given his first guitar at the age of 9. Only 7 short years later, he walked up to a local radio station with a tape of a song that he had written himself. The station went against its own policy of not playing self-submitted tapes because, as the DJ announced, it was ``too good to pass up.'' After graduating high school he went on a tour of Texas and took a job as the house singer in a local bar where he was discovered by a record producer from a major label. The rest, as they say, is history. Walker has released 10 albums, with 4 having been certified platinum and two certified gold. He has placed more than 30 singles on the charts, including 6 number 1s.

Walker's musical career hit some unexpected turbulence in 1996 when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the leading cause of non-traumatic disability in young people throughout the world. Despite dealing with occasional side effects like tiredness and tingling in his hands, Clay has been able to live, work, and maintain his quality of life through daily treatments and a healthy lifestyle. He knows that everyone diagnosed with MS can not enjoy those comforts. So in 2003 he formed the Band Against MS Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to provide encouragement and education to those living with MS while also raising money to help find a cure for the disease. They have raised over a million dollars to fund research. He has also worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House, and Habitat for Humanity, among other charities. Walker was recently recognized for his selfless commitment to helping others by the Country Radio Broadcasters as he was named their Humanitarian of the Year for 2008. He joins other recipients such as Garth Brooks, Vince Neil, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, and Reba McEntire.

On behalf of the Second Congressional District of Texas, I applaud my personal friend Clay Walker on his outstanding achievements. He personifies the spirit of Texas and Texas country music. He has faced the music and has tried to make the world a better to place to live, for those affected by MS and for those without.

And that's just the way it is.