LaHood gave thanks for the community coming together to wish him
well and said that he has been honored to serve the constituents of
the 18th Congressional District.
The history of our community and
area is not lost on LaHood, who stated that 11 of the Illinois
counties he has represented these past 14 years are the same
counties Lincoln served during his term in the House.
Bounding past party lines, LaHood said that all Illinoisans, and
in fact all Americans, should be proud of the fact that a racial
barrier has been broken in the election of Barack Obama as our next
He pondered how pleased Lincoln would be to see that this
historic event of the first African-American president came from
Lincoln's own state of Illinois. He also felt that it was an
important gesture by the president-elect to request and receive
approval from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to
use the Lincoln Bible at his swearing-in ceremony.
foreign engagements and U.S. oil drilling, LaHood said, “You can’t
just talk about drilling; we should be drilling. We’re one of the
only country’s that doesn’t drill for its own resources. We need
wind energy, solar energy; nuclear energy; we need alternatives.
That’s the direction this administration should move, and will
move. We’re going to get a greener country under this
LaHood said he honestly didn't know what his future plans would
be, preferring to wait until his term is up in January, but he did
say he intends to continue his efforts to remain in public service
in some capacity.
"I'm grateful to the people in Logan County and central Illinois
to give me this opportunity of service," he said. "I'm glad I didn't
stay too long. I'm glad I knew when it was the right time to leave
and to be able to go out on top. I say thank you to all the people
that have been supporting our efforts, and we've tried to
reciprocate by supporting the efforts of people in Logan County and
other surrounding areas."
LaHood is proud of his public service, and the following is just
a portion of the accomplishments that he mentioned last week from
his 30 years of public service.
Seven terms, 14
years in office as U.S. representative from the 18th District; 12
years as chief of staff for congressman Bob Michel; four years under
congressman Tom Railsback.
If you look around
my district, there is a health care clinic that serves people who
don't have health care in Peoria, Decatur and Springfield. I'm proud
There are VA
clinics in Peoria, Decatur and Springfield so vets don't have to
drive long distances. I'm proud of that.
Over the years
we've put a lot of emphasis on rural health care and our rural
hospitals in a way that allows them to get reimbursed for services
so people don't have to drive long distances when they need health
care. This includes the hospital in Lincoln.
[to top of second column]
If you look at what we've done with communications here in Logan
County, the money they've received to upgrade communications for
fire, police and volunteer organizations, they're all together now
and you've got a great organization. Because of your leadership
(naming Emergency Management Agency director Dan Fulscher and
Sheriff Steve Nichols), you probably have one of the most
state-of-the-art communications centers of anybody, certainly in
downstate Illinois. Everyone's together now, and the emergency
system works pretty well because you've had leaders in the community
that are willing to go after these federal dollars. I'm proud of the
work we've done with them also.
attention to little communities in our district because they have
the same problems as big communities, but they have a lot less
resources to deal with it.
We've seen history
unfold before our eyes.
In 1994 I was
elected to the majority party after the Republicans were out for
I've been through
the impeachment of a president (Bill Clinton) and presided over the
two-day impeachment proceedings.
I voted to
authorize President Bush to go to war in Iraq, and I went through
bipartisan retreats for my colleagues
I was in Washington
during 9/11. I can say to my grandkids, I was in Washington when
these things happened.
This is a great job
and I wish Aaron Schock a lot of luck. He'll do well. When he's
sworn in on Jan. 6, 2009, he will be the youngest member of the
House of 435 members at 27 years old.
I will tell Aaron
Schock, and tell anybody that comes into this job: Remember where
you came from and remember the people who elected you. You do that,
then you don't go far afield of people who work hard, people that
play by the rules and just do it the right way. That's what people
in central Illinois do. They're hardworking people and they
represent the best of America.
--Comments by Ray LaHood
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