I want to start this message by acknowledging the heartbreaking shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. My prayers are with the parents, loved ones, fellow students, teachers, and every single person affected by the horrific killing. Our children and our communities should feel safe when entering schools, grocery stores, movie theaters, and places of worship. It is time for change now.
As today will be my last day representing you in Congress, I wanted to share a portion of my final statement to the House of Representatives. I am so honored to have had the privilege of representing you and fighting for the people of New York’s 19th District. Please find a reflection on my time in Congress below:
As I rise today for the last time as a member of the 117th Congress, I must begin by thanking the people of New York’s 19th Congressional District.
Thank you for trusting me to represent you in Washington. Thank you for every phone call you have placed to my office. Thank you for the hundreds of thousands of letters and emails you have sent to me. Thank you for coming to my town halls, and for scheduling meetings with me and my staff. Democracy is a two-way street, and your passionate engagement has helped me to be a more effective representative.
I would also like to thank Lacey, my wife and the love of my life, who has sacrificed so much since I decided to run for Congress more than four years ago. I want to thank Maxwell and Coltrane, my two sons, who drive my desire for positive change day in and day out.
I first addressed this chamber in January of 2019. The longest government shutdown in our nation’s history had just ended, and I spoke about the need for Congress to live up to its charter as outlined in Article I. I said that Democrats and Republicans must work together to shoulder the sacred responsibilities entrusted to us by voters—and that we all must pledge to cast partisanship aside and be good stewards of the republic that we inherited from the generations that came before us.
Congress has done important work in the years since I gave that speech. We passed a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure; we outlawed surprise medical billing; we delivered pandemic relief that helped America recover better economically than any of its peer nations. All in all, 18 of my bills were signed into law under two presidents—bills to provide emergency pandemic funding to municipalities of all sizes, to support underserved veterans, to provide loan forgiveness to small businesses, to protect family farms. I am proud of this record.
Over the past few years, I have tried to build a brand of politics that puts people before partisanship. I have made decisions based not on whether an idea comes from the right or left, but whether that idea is right or wrong. I fought tirelessly for those I represent; I listened to others before speaking; and I treated all people with love and respect.
Building a political movement based on love, respect, and humility will be the work I carry on in the years to come. The Capitol—this chamber—is hallowed ground. I hope and pray that Congress will once again become a place where representatives from every corner of this great country gather together not to emphasize their differences and use them for political gain, but to hash those differences out for the good of the people.
Madam Speaker, representing New York’s 19th District in Congress has been the greatest honor and it is with a hopeful heart that I close out my time in Congress and begin the next chapter. Thank you to the residents of upstate New York for your love and support and to all who have been on this journey with me.”
Although this will be my last message to you all as your Congressman, I want to assure you that the Office of New York’s 19th Congressional District will work to ensure a smooth transition and continue helping constituents in any way they can. Thank you again for everything.