I am writing to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
When I decided, with my family’s support, to run in the special election campaign for Congress in 2012, followed by another election just a few months later, we had no idea that there would be such an outpouring of love and support to carry us through three campaigns.
As a family we have decided that running again in 2016 is not the right decision for us. I have loved serving my community in Congress but now I want to spend most of my time enjoying my wonderful family.
While the result of 2014’s election is not the one we hoped for, I take solace in the hard work we did for Southern Arizona families for two and a half years. My staff and I spoke up for our community’s values, we looked out for the needs of ordinary people and I voted for what I thought was right, even when it wasn’t popular.
I voted over and over against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and because we protected that law, today fewer Arizonans are doing without health care, and seniors are getting a better deal on prescription medicines and preventative services.
After Election Day, there was more than a month of uncertainty. When the race was called, it was the closest margin in the country—in fact, it was the closest federal race in 12 years. Our opponent won by just 167 votes, out of more than 220,000 votes cast. The people had spoken, and I respected their decision. Over the winter, our staff made sure to smoothly transition all of our constituents’ pending cases to the new congressional office and to our U.S. Senators.
I love Southern Arizona. Serving the people of this community has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life. As I reflect on my experience in Congress, I am most grateful for the trust that you placed in me.
Working for this community was a joy every day: helping veterans receive the benefits they earned; working with families to prevent foreclosure of their homes; assisting seniors resolve problems with Medicare and Social Security; and expanding mental health services. We protected our local economy and our military installations in the midst of major budget cuts.
I found partners on both sides of the aisle whose goal was to seek the common ground needed to get things done for our country. As a member of the Bi-Partisan Working Group, I know that there are people in Congress who want to end dysfunction and do the job they were elected to do. I wish them every success in the years ahead.
While I am not going back to Congress this year, I will continue to speak out and work on issues that matter to Southern Arizona. I will focus on sustaining the current Social Security and Medicare systems and protecting a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions. I will work with others to expand background checks on gun sales to keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited by law from buying a firearm.
Improving mental health diagnosis and treatment and reducing stigma will continue to be a priority for me. Of particular concern is the identification and treatment of people with serious mental illness and veterans who have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury. I am also going to dedicate a lot of time and energy to help reform our broken immigration system.
Going forward, I will keep you updated on my public service, and I invite you to share your concerns, ideas and recommendations with me. You can continue to follow my Facebook page and I hope you will use it to stay in touch.
Thank you for participating in our democracy and, most of all, for everything you have done to support my campaigns and my work in Congress.