Thursday, December 16, 2010

Congressman Harry Mitchell's farewell to Congress

From page H8247 of the Congressional Record -
Mr. MITCHELL. Mr. Speaker, Mo Udall once said that those elected to positions of leadership have a moral obligation to exercise leadership. Since coming to Congress, and throughout my whole career, I have always done what I believed was in the best interests for this district, for our State, and for our country. This is what I was elected to do, to make tough decisions, knowing that some were not always as popular as others; and I would not have changed one thing, not one vote, not one decision.

When I think about what we have accomplished together in Congress over the last 4 years, I know that there are many reasons to be proud. We were able to make college more affordable for millions of young Americans. We were able to invest in clean energy technology that will clean our environment and set our Nation on a path to energy independence.

We raised the minimum wage for working families across this country. We were able to ensure equal pay for an equal day's work for women. We passed historic health care reform that will benefit millions of Americans, making health care insurance more accessible and affordable for thousands of individuals, families, and small businesses.

But I am most proud of the work we've done to take care of our Nation's veterans. Together, we made it possible for our veterans, active duty, National Guard, and reserve to empower themselves by furthering their education. I was honored to be part of an effort to pass the 21st century GI Bill into law.

We also know that many of our returning veterans and those who served in past generations bear wounds that can't be seen. Too many continue to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and are at risk for suicide. Together, we've pushed the VA to provide more mental health assistance to those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan because our veterans deserve the highest attention and respect they have earned when they come home, and we have work to do to bring them all home.

But as much as we've accomplished, there is still more to do. I have always said that you can't be successful unless a lot of other people want you to be. And I have been blessed to have so many people who have been supportive of me. For the better part of close to 40 years, I've held the titles of teacher, councilman, mayor, senator, and Congressman.

And there are a lot of people I want to thank for being with me every step of the way. A special thanks goes to my family: My wife, Marianne; my son, Mark; my daughter, Amy; and my five grandchildren. I also want to thank my staff. They were the most hardworking, talented, and loyal bunch that you would ever find, and I am very grateful for them. Lastly, I want to thank the people of Arizona's Fifth Congressional District for allowing me to represent them in the United States Congress for the past 4 years. It's been an overwhelming honor to have had the opportunity to serve my district.
Thank you Harry, for your work for the people of CD5 and for America's veterans.  And thank you for reminding us why we voted for you in the first place and why you were the best representative that any Congressional district could ask for.

I'd say something along the lines of "you will be missed" but I don't believe your lifetime of service is over.  You aren't ready to ride off into the Arizona sunset and we aren't ready to let you.

Thank you.

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