After more than 30 years serving Nevada in Washington, my time in office is coming to an end. Representing the Silver State in the United States Congress has been the honor of a lifetime. I am forever humbled and full of gratitude for the chance I was given to serve Nevadans all these years.
There really is no place like Nevada. Tenacious and beautiful, our home state is defined our beautiful landscapes and the diverse communities and cultures who call the Silver State home. Visitors are awed by our state, from the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe and the raw preserved beauty of Great Basin National Park, to the glamour of Las Vegas. Newcomers to our state are struck by our people, all from different walks of life, but united in spirit.
I can still remember my first day in Congress. It was January 1987 and I walked in ready to serve and excited about the possibilities. Every day since then, we’ve fought to create good-paying jobs, to improve our education system and to foster a competitive workforce to strengthen Nevada’s competitiveness in the global economy. We have led the way in making Nevada a national clean energy leader – bringing more than $6 billion in clean energy investments to the state. We have fought tooth and nail against tax breaks for the super wealthy and any effort to outsource Nevada jobs.
We worked tirelessly to expand health care to 20 million people under the Affordable Care Act. We protected Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We fought to provide brave veterans with the support and services they deserve – including the implementation of a program to reunite Filipino veterans in Nevada and throughout the country with their loved ones after facing decades of injustice and separation.
During my time in Congress, we worked hard together to grow Nevada and build on the tremendous progress we made.
Through all the tough times we have had, we have always come back stronger than ever before. I’m comforted by the fact that Nevada is a state full of fighters. I know that as I step out of the ring, Catherine Cortez Masto will be a leader for Nevada in the Senate, that Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen will be fighting for us in Congress and the new majority in the Nevada Legislature will make a real difference in the lives of middle class Nevadans. This new generation of Nevada leaders will stand up for all Americans, no matter what, and I could not be more proud to see them take our state into the future.
I know what is possible in America. That a poor kid from Searchlight would grow up to be where I am today is a miracle. But that is what America is all about. Growing up, we didn’t have a high school, we didn’t have a grocery store. I went to primary school in a one room school house. But Searchlight is where I learned Nevada values like hard work, opportunity and independence – and I used those values to deliver meaningful results for everyone. I got to do this work because of the faith Nevadans put in me all these years. I will miss being the senior senator for the Silver State. But I will always be in Nevada’s corner.