Today,Congressman John Shadegg(AZ-03) issued the following statement regarding his plans to representArizona’sThird Congressional Districtbeyond 2010:
“I am today announcing that, while I will serve out my current term in the U.S.House of Representatives, I will not be a candidate for re-election to Congress. Representing the people of Arizona in the House has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. And, while it would be difficult to leave this position at any time, it is particularly hard to do so now with the challenges we face as a nation, but it is necessary for me to do so.
“While representing the people of Arizona in the House was one of my goals in life, it is not the only one. After 16 years it is time for me to take my life in a new direction and to pursue my commitment to fight for freedom in a different venue.
“In doing so, I particularly want to thank the people who have supported and voted for me throughout the years. I couldn’t have won this seat or engaged in this fight without their steadfast friendship and support. I will remain forever in their debt. I also especially want to thank my wife, Shirley, and my children, Courtney and Stephen, for their sacrifice, patience, and encouragement. They have been there through the highs and lows, and I sincerely appreciate all they have done to make my career in Congress possible.
“I also want to thank the men and women that I have been blessed to have on my staff, working alongside me as we fought the good fight. My staff is Shirley’s and my extended family, and their creativity, wit, and hard work stands unparalleled. Most importantly, together we share a passion for freedom.
“Two years ago I considered retiring and briefly announced my intention to do so. I was talked out of that decision by my constituents and colleagues. For those who encouraged me to run then and particularly those who stepped up and helped financially in that race, I want to reiterate my sincere appreciation. 2008 was a disastrous year for Republicans. Yet, with their help we proved that this is a solidly Republican seat, defeating my Democrat challenger by double digits notwithstanding the millions of dollars poured into this race by National Democrats. This time, however, my decision is irreversible.
“As the Obama Administration andSpeaker Pelosigrow further and further out of touch with average Americans, evidence continues to build that 2010 will be a record year for Republicans running for Congress. And, I am extremely confident that the people of the Third District of Arizona will elect a solid conservative.
“In the last year, I have been able to fight the massive government takeover of ournation’s health care systemadvanced by President Obama and Speaker Pelosi. I will continue to do so with every ounce of energy I can summon. This takeover is deeply flawed and overwhelmingly opposed by my constituents.
“I have worked on health care reform my entire Congressional career. One of my proudest moments came when my legislation to encourage states to cover those with pre-existing conditions was passed by Congress and signed into law.
“I have introduced legislation every year since 1996 to give Americans greater choice in selecting their health care and greater control over theirhealth care decisions. Time and again, I have proposed innovative ideas. Early on, I introduced legislation giving individuals the ability to purchase coverage on the same tax-favored basis businesses now enjoy. I was the first to propose allowing individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines, an idea that continues to gain momentum. These are real reforms that would force America ’shealth insurance companiesto compete with each other for our business, and drive costs down and quality up.
“I have repeatedly introduced legislation that would give every American, rich and poor, health coverage and cover those with pre-existing conditions while preserving choice, creating real competition, and cost savings.
“The biggest problems in health care in America today are the result of misguided government policies. It is the government that puts your employer and the health plan your employer selected between you and your doctors. It is the government that allows employers to buyhealth care coveragetax-free but makes individuals use after-tax dollars to buy coverage. And, it is the government, including a specific provision in the current House and Senate bills that gives health insurance companies immunity from damages if their decision injures or kills someone. Yet, National Democrats are about to bail out thehealth insurance industry, compel every American to buy their product whether we want to or not, dramatically expanding the roll of government in health care. This is a tragic mistake which we will come to regret.
“To this day, I get goose bumps when I walk back to my office in the Cannon Building after a late night vote and look up at the Capitol Dome shining through the darkness. I will deeply miss doing so. Our Nation’s Capitol is the greatestsymbol of freedom in the world. And, I will be forever indebted to the people of Arizona who bestowed on me the privilege of representing them in the fight for freedom.
“While therules of the Housedo not allow me to pursue future employment while I am still in office, rest assured, I will continue to remain in the fight for freedom and defendAmerican exceptionalism.”