I have been so honored to represent the 53rd Congressional district for what soon will be twenty years. I am immensely grateful to you for the repeated confidence you have shown in me.
I have struggled to make this very difficult decision. I will not seek another term in Congress.
My decision today represents a desire to live and work “at home” in San Diego. I will continue to give my all for the next sixteen months and will work as earnestly and as enthusiastically as I have always tried to do.
Other than the near weekly cross-country commutes, there is a lot I will miss about representing you in Washington. The opportunity to serve and contribute has been everything I could have ever imagined. I grew up in a pediatrician’s family and watched my father making a difference in people’s lives. I wanted to do that as well.
I entered office only months before 9/11 and have stood with all of you through our nation’s conflicts and tragedies. The sacrifices of our servicemembers and their families have always been uppermost in my mind.
As both the Ranking Member and Chair of the Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, I have led in supporting our military families with expanded career service opportunities, pay equities, health care, and have had a special interest in the support of our women warfighters stationed in Afghanistan. As Chairwoman of the Higher Education Subcommittee, I am focused in this Congress on college access and the expansion of educational options such as apprenticeship programs.
I have been an active player in support of health insurance for those with preexisting conditions; held the first Congressional hearings for the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell;” advanced the equal pay act, have pushed for sensible gun safety laws and have championed many civil rights and election reforms. All this has been exceptionally meaningful.
While I have loved working on national and U.S. - international policy, making government work better for you on a personal level has been the most fulfilling part of my job. It brings me great pride that my office was recognized by the Congressional Management Foundation as a “Best in Congress” for both constituent services and the positive workplace environment we’ve created.
I am most in awe of my staff and interns’ ability to work constructively as a team, to work professionally, effectively, with integrity and dedication for the people we serve. Many have trained in my office and advanced their personal careers at local, state and national levels. I am especially delighted that we have played a part in this next generation of leaders.
I have taken my responsibilities seriously and have always tried to listen to your many points of view in our wonderfully diverse community. I appreciate all of your calls, letters, emails, survey responses and town hall questions over the years, and have tried to be as responsive as possible. I have enjoyed and learned from our office meetings in both San Diego and DC. Thank you for your advocacy. Our office is open for you as always and I look forward to hearing what’s on your mind.
Working with my most amazing colleagues from throughout the country, in addition to our San Diego representatives, has always been an engaging stimulating experience. Sometimes finding common ground has been challenging, especially in this increasingly divisive political climate. I have stood my ground when the values we share are threatened.
To my loving family: I look forward to working around your busy schedules rather than you accommodating to my often unpredictable one. Without that support, it would have been impossible to have the flexibility to serve the way I have wanted.
This is tough for me. There are always compelling issues and challenges that have encouraged me to pursue each new election cycle. Most touching has been the appeals to stay on and go yet another round with the hope that I would always be your representative. It doesn’t get any better than that!
I do not know what I will do next but I know there are many ways to serve our community.
I am grateful to have you as engaged and concerned citizens of our great nation and the San Diego community we love. I know you will pick your next representative wisely. That person will also represent me, so I will look to those who put this noble pursuit of public interest above self-interest. I sincerely hope that has been a mark of my service.
With warmth and gratitude,