As you probably saw, yesterday I announced that I wouldn’t be seeking reelection as your Representative before Congress. To make the announcement, I wrote an OpEd that ran in the Arizona Republic, and I wanted to share it with you. I’ve included the full piece below. When you have some time, please take a look and let me know your thoughts.
In the mean time, we’ve still got a lot more work to do. Don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns, or if I can help you or your family deal with the federal bureaucracy.
It is an honor serving you in Washington, and I look forward to seeing you in Arizona.
Matt Salmon: Why I’m leaving Congress
by Matt Salmon, AZ I See It
Congressman: Sometimes you have to step back and look at the good and the bad parts of being in office.
Representing the wonderful people of Arizona has truly been one of the most rewarding blessings of my life.
There is no feeling like walking onto the floor of the House of Representatives, on which declarations of war and Constitutional amendments were debated, and casting a vote in favor of legislation you truly believe in.
The gravity of this privilege has never been lost on me. Neither has the significance of helping constituents who get stuck in the bureaucratic process of the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs. Meeting constituents always perks me up, especially when they’re visiting the Capitol for the first time and eager to receive a tour from my staff.
Of course, not everything about being an elected official feels so rewarding. It’s quite an understatement to say my votes (and my views) have occasionally angered some constituents (and the media), regardless of party.
Many times, I’ve had very busy office phone lines, email inboxes and social media accounts with strongly worded commentary. Sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it always reminds me that this is the beauty of America — a Republic founded to protect the freedom of the citizens to freely express themselves.
The top priority in any man’s life is family
But even with the amazing experience of being your congressman, I often reflect on the worst aspect of my job. That spot belongs solely and exclusively to the time spent away from my family.
I strongly believe in the simple truth that in any man’s life, his top priority should be his family. This sentiment was captured perfectly in a quote that was uttered by a leader of my church, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
When I was first elected to Congress in 1994, I was a young father of four children — two daughters and two sons. My oldest was 13 and my youngest was 5. During the six years of my first tenure in Congress, I missed so many important events like birthdays, school dances, senior proms, soccer games and cross-country meets.
In 2012, I was asked to return to Congress by many of my constituents. They were fed up with the federal government running roughshod over their rights and ignoring their priorities. I understood; my own children were dealing with the fallout of President Obama’s devastating economic platform, and I couldn’t just sit on my hands while their futures were being mortgaged away.
I was also optimistic that my beautiful wife Nancy and I would at least be able to spend time together when I was in Washington. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it worked out.
I’ll keep fighting for our nation – from Arizona
Now, for the first time in years, my children are all back in Arizona and with them are my seven young grandchildren. And more than ever, it seems the biggest hypocrisy to abandon my family in a quest to protect them. After much soul-searching, that’s just not a trade I can justify making any longer.
While I’m happy that President Obama’s administration is ending, it is with a heavy heart that I must announce that I will not be seeking re-election to Arizona’s 5th congressional district. Even still, I have no intention of stopping my fight to protect our nation’s future — I’ll just be continuing it as a constituent in the Valley of the Sun.
I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t point out that Arizona is fortunate to have such a remarkable congressional delegation. In an era of intense ideological division throughout Washington, it is heartening to see both Democrats and Republicans working together for the betterment of Arizona.
For my remaining nine months in office, I intend to work harder than ever to provide you the most responsive and accountable representation possible. And let me say once more, it has truly been an honor serving you in Washington, and I look forward to seeing you back home in Arizona.
Matt Salmon of Mesa serves Arizona’s 5th congressional district.