Yarmuth’s Farewell Speech After 16-Year House Career

From an AP story by Bruce Schreiner headlined “Yarmuth gives farewell speech after 16-year House career”:

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth gave his farewell speech in the House, offering a frank assessment of what he will and will not miss as the Kentuckian approaches the end of a career that has included a stint as an influential committee chairman.

The Democrat, who has served as chairman of the House Budget Committee, thanked his family, staff and constituents. He also expressed gratitude to Capitol Police, saying its officers showed their bravery and selflessness to the world on Jan. 6, 2021, in fighting off an attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

Yarmuth, who represented the Louisville-area 3rd District for 16 years, said he will miss many of his House colleagues, some of whom he counts among his best friends. They include some of his Republican colleagues, he said.

“I will miss the serious, thoughtful and often noble discussions about how we can make a positive difference in the lives of so many Americans, even if we rarely make as big a difference as we’d want,” Yarmuth said in his final floor speech. “And I will miss the give and take of policy debates, even though I know there was never a chance the debates would change anyone’s mind.”

The congressman, known for his wit and easygoing demeanor, said he won’t miss that “most of our rhetorical firepower is preaching to our respective choirs, and that too much of what we say comes from the devils and not the angels of our natures.”

“I won’t miss the frustrating reality that we rarely move quickly enough to deal with the challenges of a fast-moving world, and the fear that if this body doesn’t figure out how to work more expeditiously, we will continue to frustrate our citizens,” he added.

Yarmuth said he also won’t miss “the constant emphasis on raising money and the apparent conviction of some that only gobs of money can persuade enough voters to win elections.”

Yarmuth announced last year that he wouldn’t seek another term, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. Yarmuth was first elected to Congress in 2006, when he unseated a Republican incumbent in the urban and suburban district.

Through his committee post, Yarmuth played a key role in passage of relief measures as the country reeled from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.

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