Montpelier, VT — On Wednesday, Senator Patrick Leahy was in for a surprise as he was honored at the statehouse by the Vermont legislature for his accomplishments. State leaders such as Governor Phil Scott, President Pro Temp Becca Balint, and Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray spoke about Senator Leahy’s impact on the Green Mountain State.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate held a ceremony to honor native son Patrick Leahy for his close to 50 years of service. Senator Leahy said he did not see it coming.

“I was totally surprised, Marcelle kept a secret,” Senator Leahy said. “I turned to her and said did you know about this and she goes yes.”

Senator Leahy who is third in line to the presidency announced late last year that this would be his final term in the public office.

When asked what his greatest achievement has been, Senator Leahy said, “There are so many things I am so proud of, what I have done here in Vermont, everything from the Organic Farm Bill to greatly expanding the Green Mountain National Forest.”

Governor Scott said Senator Leahy has been an incredible champion for Vermont.

“It is not an exaggeration to say Vermont would not be anywhere near what we are today without Senator Leahy,” Governor Scott said. “While he has physically been in Washington, his heart is always here in Vermont.”

As for candidates looking to succeed the senator, Senator Leahy gave this advice.

“Be honest and be yourself, that is the best advice that I can give anybody,” Senator Leahy said.

For Senator Leahy, the statehouse will always hold a special place in his heart.

“When I was a little kid growing up across the street, I would come here with my parents and of course, the desks and tables were this high and you would walk through here and this has always felt like home,” Senator Leahy said. “I thank you all for letting me come here, this is one of the greatest thrills of my life.”

In November, Senator Leahy announced he won’t seek re-election for a ninth term next year, after serving in the Chamber since 1975.