When Karl Swan first walked onto the State Senate floor in 1970, he held lawmakers in high esteem and wondered whether he had "the right stuff" to make it in the Legislature.
On Tuesday, 20 years later, he left the Senate more confident in his abilities and with respect for his colleagues still intact."I will be one private citizen in January who has a great appreciation for what you do," the Tooele Democrat told fellow senators.
Swan and four other Senators, who have served a combined 88 years in the Legislature, bid farewell to the lawmaking body after either retiring or losing elections this past year. Senators Richard Carling, R-Salt Lake, and Richard Tempest, R-Murray, also lost re-election bids, but they didn't attend the farewell session.
Sen. Haven Barlow, R-Layton, who was re-elected this fall, said he can't remember such a big changeover in Senate membership in his 38 years as a legislator.
While some recalled humorous and serious highlights in their legislative careers, all of the outgoing lawmakers noted the personal relationships they developed with fellow legislators and staff.
"You hear snide remarks about politicians. But there are no better people I have ever met in my whole life than in the Legislature," said Sen. Lorin Pace, R-Salt Lake, who has served 26 years as both a representative and senator.
"It's hard to remember what life was like before this," said Sen. Kay Cornaby, R-Salt Lake, who served 14 years. He joked about not missing the long hours, but he had to pause a moment and gain his composure before expressing how he will miss those with whom he worked.
Sen. Francis Farley, D-Salt Lake, who also retires after 14 years in the Legislature, thanked senators for working together despite differences - namely the fact she was the only woman in the Senate.
"I know it's been hard for you. But it hasn't been hard for me because I like men," she said.
After 12 years, Sen. Bill Barton, R-West Valley City, said he won't entirely leave politics despite losing last November. "You will see me here pounding on conservative causes."