Thank you, Thank you all so much, It has been such an honor to represent central Ohio in Congress these past two years.
And what a historic time to have been in Congress. When we took office in January of 2009, we were at a turning point in American history. We were hemorrhaging jobs, the banks were in free fall, our economy was sitting at the edge of a cliff and we had the foresight and the grit and the courage to do what was right. We passed an economic stimulus bill which stopped the bleeding, which stabilized the economy and prevented a second great depression.
When we took office in January of 2009, over 30 million Americans didn’t have health insurance. Premiums were rising at an exponential rate and people with pre-existing conditions like me could be denied coverage. Fully one FIFTH of our economic output is spent on health care. We had the foresight and the grit and the courage to do what was right. We changed everything about the way the insurance company operates, saved our country BILLIONS of dollars, covered the uninsured, made basic health care accessible to everyone
When we took office in January of 2009, Congress had stripped so much power from the government’s ability to regulate Wall Street, that the brokers and bankers charged with managing OUR money looked like blackjack dealers in a casino. Credit default swaps and other dangerous so-called “investments” were making billions of dollars for super rich investors at OUR expense. And when the whole scheme came crashing down, taking with it our life-savings and our home values, leaving many of our neighbors under the threat of foreclosure, We had the foresight and the grit and the courage to do what was right. We re-regulated Wall Street, we ended the casino mentality, we gave the government the ability to penalize any company that DARED play games with our retirements again and DARED to enrich themselves at our expense and if we have to, we will send them to jail for it.
Our country uses too much oil. The oil we pay for funds our enemies abroad. Every single time we gas up our SUV’s we are sending money to countries that build weapons that are used against American troops abroad. We are funding the Al Qaedas and are funding the Hezbollahs and are funding Iran EVERY SINGLE DAY. In addition, the oil we are burning is destroying our planet. Global warming is REAL, it is a threat, and if we don’t do something about it NOW we will regret it. So, in the House, we had the foresight and the grit and the courage to do what was right. We passed a comprehensive climate change bill to end our dependence on foreign oil, cultivate domestic sources of fuel and reduce our impact on the planet.
Over the next few days I expect a lot of people to ask me, “Do I have any regrets about the hard votes I took?” No. Not at all…and I never will.
What regrets do I have? I regret we didn’t pass the DISCLOSE act before hundreds of millions of dollars in unregulated corporate contributions flooded our elections and funded lies we all saw in TV ads. I regret we didn’t do more to stop these FAKE shadowy organizations which prayed on people’s anger and fear from pushing the limits of our public discourse with accusations of ‘Death panels’ and all too frequent references to fascism.
Ladies and gentlemen, after two years of some of the most angry, vitriolic scare tactics and gutter attacks. Perhaps it is time for all of us to look ourselves in the mirror. It’s time for us to have a quick gut check about what direction our country is really going. I’m not talking about jobs and the economy, I’m not talking about health care, or education policy, I’m talking about the lengths that some people are willing to go in order to win and the harm they are doing to our Republic.
Serving as your member of Congress these last two years has been the highlight of my career. I want you to know that I worked every single day to do what I thought was right for you and your family, me and my family. What’s next? I don’t know. But I assure you that whatever it is, I will bring the same dogged determination to make our community proud that I brought to Congress, and the County Commission before that and to the Columbus School Board before that. Thank you so much for your years of support.