Here are the remarks of Arizona’s newest Congressman, Ron Barber, shortly after being sworn in to the United States House of Representatives this morning.
I would like to thank the Arizona delegation for that warm welcome.
And I would like to thank Speaker Boehner for his long and dedicated public service and for swearing me in today.
And to my family – in the gallery and my grandchildren here on the floor – thank you for your support and love without which I would not be here today.
They are the most amazing family and I am blessed to have them in my life. To my high school sweetheart and wife Nancy, I love you dearly and look forward to celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker, I stand here on the floor of the House in the very spot where five months ago my friend, and my predecessor, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, bravely delivered her resignation from Congress.
I want to thank the congresswoman for her vision, leadership and the inspiration she gives to the country. Gabby, Southern Arizona misses you and can’t wait to have you home.
Today, as I begin my service in this, the people’s house, I am mindful that the stakes for our nation are very high.
They are too high to not set aside political division in favor of seeking common ground.
Too high to use our words as weapons.
Too high to think of those with whom we disagree as villains.
As an Arizonan, I look to the example of Congressman Mo Udall and Senator Barry Goldwater, two leaders in their respective parties who disagreed on much, but did so without being disagreeable. They came together many times to do what was right for their state and their country.
I’m going to approach my work for the people of Southern Arizona with an eye not toward partisan victory, but toward American achievement.
Because we as a country have much to achieve:
We must protect middle class families at a time when our middle class is slowly disappearing.
We must ensure the dignity and health of every American senior in retirement.
We must honor our veterans and military families – by ensuring that the more than 100,000 veterans I represent in Southern Arizona and every other American veteran and service member receives the services and benefits they’ve earned.
We must secure our border so that border residents are safe and we impede the flow of drugs into our communities and illegal drug money out of our country.
And we must create jobs with innovative energy technologies, improvements in our essential infrastructure, and by supporting local small businesses to grow.
I look forward to working across party lines to achieve these goals for the good of my constituents and for all Americans.
I yield back.