Monday, February 11, 2008

Arizona Congressman John Shadegg to Retire

Shocking news today from Arizona Congressman John Shadegg, he's not running for re-election this fall.

John Shadegg has been a stalwart champion of conservative public policy for seven terms in Congress. He has tackled complicated issues like health care reform and remained true to free market principles. His leadership will be greatly missed and difficult, if not impossible, to replace. His retirement is a real loss for Arizona and the nation.

Here is the press release:

Congressman John Shadegg Opts Not To Seek Re-Election

“It is time to seek a new challenge in a different venue.”

Washington, DC~ Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) issued the following statement today regarding the election this fall:

Serving Arizona in the United States Congress is the single greatest privilege in my professional life. It was a dream I had for years before my election in 1994, and I still get goose bumps when I look up at the Capitol dome as I walk to a vote.

I grew up in the shadow of Senator Barry Goldwater's home (Be-Nun-I-Kin). My father, Stephen Shadegg, was Senator Goldwater's speechwriter and campaign manager. I inherited his passion for freedom and his deep and abiding faith in the goodness of people. Like Senator Goldwater, I believe in the ability of individual Americans, regardless of their position, circumstances, or status in life, to make decisions for themselves and to manage and control their own destiny better than any government bureaucrat, agency, or politician.

For almost 14 years, I have enjoyed the great honor of fighting for freedom and individual responsibility in the U.S. House of Representatives - the peoples’ House.

I was elected at an exciting point in our nation's history as a part of the '94 Revolution. And, incredibly, I have pretty much seen it all. (In fact, over the years as events have unfolded, every time I would think I had seen it all, something stunning and unexpected would happen).

All in all, it was never my intention to be a professional politician. I have tried to do my best for the people of America, Arizona, and my district. And I believe I have accomplished a great deal as a Member of the U.S. House.

I have served in the Majority and the Minority. I’ve seen a balanced budget and deep deficits. I’ve served when we had a Democrat President and a Republican President. I’ve witnessed a government shutdown and an Impeachment. I’ve been in Congress when we were at war and at peace. I watched an ineffective strategy in Iraq; now we’re seeing real progress.

In 1994, I was excited to sign the Contract with America which promised to restore "the bonds of trust between the American people and the U.S. Congress." And, I have watched as the institution has protected and defended corrupt members and corrupt practices.

I fought to shrink the size and scope of the federal government and have it tax less, spend less, and interfere in our lives less. I've watched as excess spending spiraled breathtakingly out of control. We have piled ever more debt on our children and grandchildren, borrowing obscene amounts from China, Saudi Arabia, and others.

It has been a tremendous privilege to serve and a lot of fun! In Congress, if you want to get ahead, you need to go along and get along. Do what you're told; vote how you're told. I've spent 14 years breaking that rule.

I started my congressional career confronting our elected party leaders on behalf of my class, the freshmen class of 1994. We were elected to Congress to change "the way Washington works." While the leaders of the new Majority were happy to finally be in the majority, they weren't so keen on all this change stuff… so we fought. And, I was one of the lead trouble makers.

I've fought my party’s leadership, and been elected to leadership, and fought my party’s leadership again.

After deep reflection and consultation with my family, I have decided I will not be a candidate for re-election this fall.

As is the case anytime a politician decides to step aside, many will try to "read the tea leaves" and speculate as to "why." Obviously, the Arizona Democrat Party will gin up its partisan spin machine, consistent with its baseless attacks launched over the past few months. So I will answer the obvious questions.

My health is great; I have not felt better in years, and I expect to be involved in our nation's political discourse for decades to come.

I just came off the most successful fundraising year of my career. I raised more than $1 million last year, more since the beginning of this year, and I haven't begun to tap the financial support I could get if I needed it. Recently I have seen polling data that shows I would beat my Democrat opponent by more than 31 points.

It also shows a generic Republican beating a generic Democrat and it shows that on issue after issue the voters of this district support conservative, Republican positions. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the Republican nominee for this seat will win in November. This district will stay Republican.

The bottom line is that this is a personal decision between my family and me, about our dreams, goals, and ambitions, and we have concluded that it is time for me to seek a new challenge in a different venue to advance the cause of freedom.

I want to thank the people of my Congressional District for the tremendous privilege they have given me. Shirley and I owe a deep debt of gratitude to all who placed their trust in me, first electing me in 1994 and then re-electing me six times. We are forever indebted to them for giving me this privilege and for their friendship and support. I am also very grateful to the people who have donated to my campaigns. Without their generous support, none of this would have been possible.

I know I will at times deeply miss this job. It has been a privilege and an honor and an incredibly rewarding experience.

Our nation is facing huge challenges, and my passion for the cause of freedom is as strong as ever.

I believe we face the greatest threat to civilization in human history in the form of radical Islam, which seeks by violence, infiltration, or a combination of both, to destroy every thing we value and hold dear. Radical Islam opposes equality and equal rights for women and minorities, freedom, and even democracy itself.

And, I have no intention of letting up in the fight for my beliefs. I simply believe it is time for me to do so in some other capacity.

I will continue to work hard to the end of my term in January, and look forward to doing everything in my power to preserve and extend democracy, economic prosperity, human rights, personal freedom and individual responsibility.


No comments: