Santa Paula Times

A Grateful Citizen Legislator

February 03, 2012

By U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly 

(R-Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties)

On Jan. 7, I announced my intention to retire from Congress next January at the conclusion of my current term of office. This decision was not made lightly because I truly love this community and the constituents I have served these many years. However, I will soon be 68 years old and while I enjoy excellent health, Janice and I have decided it is time for us to start a new chapter in our lives, a chapter that will include more time together and with our four children and 10 grandchildren. 

Serving as your representative has been an extraordinary privilege and the experience of a lifetime. I want to thank my supporters, my staff and especially the voters for the trust they have placed in me throughout 13 terms and 26 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

 When I was first elected to the House, I vowed that I would be a true citizen representative who would always stay close to the people I represented. 

Throughout my tenure I conscientiously resisted the “beltway mindset” that believes only Washington insiders know what is best for everyone else. I live in my district and represent my district in Washington, not represent Washington in my district. I return home every week Congress is in session, making approximately 80 cross-country flights each year and maintaining a lifetime voting attendance record of 98 percent. 

Above all, I have made it my top priority to advance the interests and needs of my district both in the legislation I authored and the constituent services we provided to those who asked for help. 

Along the way, with your help and support we had some amazing legislative successes, improved Ventura County’s infrastructure and even witnessed history making events in other parts of the world. 

The world has certainly changed since I first went to Washington, D.C. in 1986, from the Berlin Wall coming down to 9/11 to the Arab Spring and other world-changing events. But I hope that when supporters and critics review my record in Congress they will agree that I remained true to the values I brought to Washington on that very first trip and never forgot who I worked for.  

Now, as I begin my last year I am deeply grateful for the many close friends and supporters, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents, who Janice and I have had the honor and privilege to know and work with during more than 30 years of public service. Without your support, none of this would have been possible. For the next year, I will work as hard as I ever have. My first priority is to work with my colleagues to help the private sector create jobs - including passing E-Verify, the largest jobs bill now before Congress - and to continue to shore up our defenses against our enemies, foreign and domestic.

I believe in a great future for our country and I know that all Americans share this belief. We must continue to work together with unwavering determination to ensure that America remains a beacon of liberty, freedom and opportunity. 

When I return home next year to begin the next chapter, that belief and energy will remain a part of me, as it will for my many friends. I know I won’t be alone in my future pursuits. And I will be forever grateful for that.