On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner made a surprise announcement that he was stepping down from the top post and resigning from Congress at the end of October. On Monday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield announced he would seek to succeed Boehner. Here are reactions from central San Joaquin Valley legislators on Boehner, and McCarthy’s email to colleagues on seeking the speaker position:
Fresno Democrat Jim Costa, who serves in the 16th Congressional District:
“Speaker John Boehner is a good man, and I have a great deal of respect for him. He tried hard to find solutions and compromise, but unfortunately, he is working with an extremely divided Republican conference which makes it almost impossible to govern on a bipartisan basis. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Costa also added a final thought: “We need to keep in mind that all the extreme divisions which exist within the Republican conference will not go away regardless of who is speaker of the House.”
Tulare Republican Devin Nunes of the 22nd Congressional District, a Boehner ally and chair of the House Intelligence Committee:
“John Boehner has served with honor and distinction as Speaker of the House, leading the Republican Party as it amassed its biggest House majority in more than eighty years. Against determined opposition, he has guided bills to passage in the House that would implement a conservative agenda that puts America back on the path to prosperity. My three daughters developed a particular fondness for Speaker Boehner on their trips to Washington, and I’m honored to call him a close friend. I’ll miss his steady leadership.”
Hanford Republican David G. Valadao, who serves in the 21st Congressional District:
“The responsibilities of serving as Speaker of the House are not small, however, Speaker Boehner has fulfilled his duties with distinction and honor. I consider myself fortunate to have served my freshman term in Congress under his leadership and appreciate his guidance over the past three years. During his twenty-five years in Congress, Mr. Boehner has worked tirelessly not only for the people of Ohio, but also for each and every American. Our country is better off due to his service.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who serves in the 23rd Congressional District and is considered the most likely person to replace Boehner as speaker:
“Since I first came to Congress in 2007, John has been serving his constituents and his country with unparalleled passion. John has been a leader, mentor, and most of all friend throughout, and I learned not only from his experience but also from his unshakeable faith and principles. It takes profound humility to step down from a position of power, and John’s depth of character is unmatched. As our country has weathered difficult times at home and abroad, John has acted as a true statesman, always moving forward with the best interests of the American people close to his heart. He will be missed because there is simply no one else like him. Now is the time for our conference to focus on healing and unifying to face the challenges ahead and always do what is best for the American people.”
I am running to be your Speaker because I know that the People’s House works best when the leadership you elect listens to members and respects the legislative process entrusted to committees.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, on his decision to run for House speaker
On Monday, McCarthy sent this email to his House GOP colleagues:
From: Kevin McCarthy
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 3:17 PM
Subject: Our Future
Our conference has been through a lot together. We are a part of the largest Republican majority since 1928. We have made real progress towards shrinking an overgrown federal government and reforming our broken entitlement system. But our work is far from done. We can’t ignore the differences that exist, but we can and must heal the divisions in our conference with work, time, and trust. That is why I have decided to run for Speaker of the House and graciously ask for your support.
You all know me. We’ve spent late nights on the House Floor together. I’ve visited your districts and met your families and constituents. More importantly, I have gotten to know your ideas, your goals, and your vision for our conference and our country.
I am running to be your Speaker because I know that the People’s House works best when the leadership you elect listens to members and respects the legislative process entrusted to committees. In short, I am guided by something Ronald Reagan once said: “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
But I am also sensitive to what is happening outside of the Beltway. I want us to be much closer to the people we represent, and I want them to once again feel like this is their government, they are in charge, and we are here to serve them.
If elected Speaker, I promise you that we will have the courage to lead the fight for our conservative principles and make our case to the American people. But we will also have the wisdom to listen to our constituents and each other so that we always move forward together.
Over the past weekend, I reached out to every one of you to listen to your opinions and ask for your advice. I know that you ran for Congress to make a difference, to leave a better country for your kids and grandkids. There are challenges ahead, but unified we have an amazing opportunity to make lasting conservative change. And I know when we work together under the banner of freedom and opportunity there is little that is out of our reach.
I look forward to fighting with you for our shared conservative principles.