December 23, 2015
To the people of the Fifth District of Virginia:
For the last 15 years it has been a high honor to represent you, my fellow-citizens, in elective office. I was first entrusted to represent my neighbors as a citizen-legislator here on the Chatham Town Council and then in the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond in both the House of Delegates and in the Senate.
For the past five years I have had the rare privilege of serving as the representative in the U.S. Congress for Virginia’s Fifth District. The first member of Congress to represent this district was, of course, James Madison who was elected in 1789 and used his influence as the Father of the Constitution to win adoption of our Bill of Rights — our third charter of freedom — during that First Congress.
Being entrusted by you to occupy a seat previously held by such a statesman has been an honor beyond words. And while Madison’s distinguished service sometimes seems far distant history, I have always looked to his example for guidance, and I have always striven to support and defend our Constitution and to faithfully serve the best interests of my constituents, our Commonwealth, and our nation.
When I think back on my first run for public office, I never envisioned making this a career. I ran because I believed then as I do now that every citizen should contribute in his or her own way to ensure a vibrant representative democracy. But I also believed then as I do now that it is not our elected leaders who make our country great, but it is, rather, the private citizen and the private economy that make this country great.
And so it is with these two thoughts in mind that I look forward to returning to private life at the conclusion of my current term and declare that I will not seek re-election to Congress next year.
Please accept my enduring gratitude for the opportunity to serve you, and I thank you for your gracious hospitality as I have traveled all across the 23 counties and cities of the Fifth District over these years. I have been blessed to work with an outstanding staff that has always put the people we represent first. And my greatest debt of gratitude goes to my family who has singularly made this journey possible and worthwhile.
As we approach the New Year, I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the Fifth District in Washington with the same level of representation that they have come to expect from our office.