For 26 years, it has been my privilege to represent the people of Arizona in the U.S. Congress. As many of you know, that service will come to an end when Senator-elect Jeff Flake takes my place in January. And as you might imagine, this is a bittersweet moment for me. But, in the end, public service is never really about the servant – it’s about the public.
And that’s why I want to simply say this: Thank You.
Thank you to this newspaper and its editor for printing this column.
Thank you to you for reading this column. And, to those who have read my columns over the years, thank you for your attention and your feedback.
Thank you for engaging with your government.
Thank you for sending those letters, e-mails, and postcards. Thank you for your phone calls and office visits when you’re in Phoenix, Tucson, or Washington. Thank you for coming to coffees and town halls. Thank you for writing letters to the editor and organizing with your neighbors to make a change. When you’ve been upset about an issue, thank you for letting me know.
This is what our civic democracy is all about.
I was not born an Arizonan; like many in our state, I became one by choice more than 50 years ago. And it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Arizona’s beauty and natural splendor is unrivaled. Our history and unique culture are without parallel. Most Arizonans are kind, adventurous, gutsy, welcoming, and – as I have learned quite well over the years – engaged both civically and politically.
I know that I am leaving office at a time when many issues remain unresolved in our nation’s capital. But, that will almost always be the case; for me, the time was right to step aside and allow another senator to hear and represent your concerns. I know that Arizona will be in good hands with advocates like Jeff Flake and John McCain.
In the end, I am most grateful for the opportunity to have been able to represent you in Washington, D.C. It has been the privilege of my life to serve you, and I hope you will remain engaged citizens, ever mindful of the God-given freedoms that so many have fought and died to preserve – and your responsibility to protect them.