House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, took a break from the rhetorical carpet-bombing of the fiscal cliff faceoff yesterday for a floor speech thanking the departing California Democrats, including two from the Bay Area – one who retired, and one who was unseated.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for yielding, Mr. Miller. I know that we have a time limitation so I will begin by associating myself with the remarks of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo who spoke so beautifully and knowledgeably about our colleagues who are leaving, who are from California, who are leaving. I rise today to thank my colleagues, who are our friends, and our partners from the great state of California.
“The Members we honor in this special order – I’m just going to do this cause its way down low.
[Leader Pelosi Adjusts Podium Height]
“Recognize the, demonstrate the extraordinary diversity of our great Golden State. They hail from northern California and southern California, from the Bay Area, to the greater Los Angeles [area], to San Diego. They bring Californians’ wide range of interests, and aspirations to the floor of the House every day. Working side-by-side with the entire California delegation, their service, our service has strengthened the Golden State; the commitment of our departing Members has strengthened the Congress; their achievements have advanced the character of our country. Each of these Members has brought a unique voice to the table; yet each shares the same core values – a devotion to public service, a dedication to opportunity, a belief in the promise of America.
“Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey spent her career fighting to improve the education of our children, the economic security of their families, the protection of our workers, as well as our coastline, as Congresswoman Eshoo mentioned. With her departure, I won’t say retirement because she is not a retiring person, the Bay Area loses a powerful advocate in Congress and the nation loses a tireless progressive leader. It was, I think, Mr. Miller said ‘400 times that Lynn Woolsey came to the floor to speak against the war, our involvement in the war in Iraq.’ Thank you, Congresswoman Woolsey. So, it’s about the patriotism of this Congress and of the participation as patriots of our colleagues from California.
“Whether it’s the education of our children, whether it is the health of our people as demonstrated by Congressman Pete Stark. Why we all owe you Pete Stark, a great debt of gratitude. He has been a fixture in the fight to build and strengthen the pillars of health and economic security for the American people. From his seat on the Ways and Means Committee, to the House floor, he always remained a fierce fighter for Medicare and a passionate advocate for the Affordable Care Act because he believed that health care was a right for all Americans, not a privilege just for the few. His legacy will live long in a stronger support for the well-being of our seniors, our families, and our middle class. I hope it is a source of pride, I know it is to your family, that so many of your colleagues respect you so much and honor your leadership and service here.”
More, after the jump…
“As has been mentioned, Congressman Filner left us, he’s already the Mayor of San Diego. He was a Freedom [Rider], who fought for civil rights and equality. He was a representative of San Diego, who never wavered in support of our veterans and he served as the Chair of that Committee. We wish him well as Mayor of San Diego
“Congresswoman Richardson has dedicated her time in Congress to rebuilding infrastructure, advancing the dream of high-speed rail, securing our borders, and protecting our environment. We wish her well as she goes forward.
“Congressman Berman – we go from ‘B’ to ‘W,’ Berman to Woolsey, and every wonderful thing in between. Congressman Berman’s imprint can be found on legislation across the broad spectrum of issues before the House. Many of us knew him long before he came to Congress, knew of his work working with the farmworkers, working for labor laws to protect the rights of workers and in two particular areas his expertise is simply unsurpassed. He was a true expert on international relations, a past Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ranking Member now, a champion of aid to Israel, the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the toughest Iran sanctions in the history of our country. He is [a] senior Member of the Judiciary Committee who, it’s safe to say, understands intellectual property, understands their importance even mentioned in our Constitution, and he understands the challenges and the opportunities they present. In every venue and every arena, he has been a proud advocate for Los Angeles, and California, a cherished leader for the entire House.
“Joe Baca is a lifelong public servant, a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions. He served in California’s state legislature. In Congress, he made his mark standing firm against harmful anti-immigrant measures and leading the effort to expand food stamps and nutrition assistance for those who need it most. That’s the most simple sentence and it’s fraught with meaning, a lot of work and leadership that he put into it on the Farm bill. Joe Baca came from humble beginnings, yet his accomplishments have been truly significant.
“The list goes on and on of our colleagues that Congresswoman Eshoo mentioned. For all of these Members, public service has been a calling, a cause, and a core facet of their character. California has been proud to have them as our representatives in Congress. For those of us who served with them, it is an honor to call each of you ‘colleague;’ for some of us a very, very special honor to be considered your friend. We all wish you, we wish of you much success in the years ahead, we look forward to coming, to continuing our work together on behalf of our great Golden State of California. Your service in Congress added to the luster of our Golden State.
“Thank you and congratulations.”