Congressman Hinchey Will Retire From Congress at End of Current Term
The full text of Hinchey's remarks as prepared follows:
Thank you all for coming here today. This year marks the 20th year I've had the high honor of representing our part of New York in the United States House of Representatives. It's been the greatest privilege of my life to serve the residents of Ulster, Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Delaware, Broome, Tioga, and Tompkins counties. In fact, I first announced I was running for Congress 20 years ago at this exact location -- the Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston, New York.
And as many of you know, I previously had the honor -- thanks to the good people of Ulster County -- of serving 18 years in the New York State Assembly, including 14 years as the Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever envision that I'd have such an extraordinary opportunity to serve my community, my state, and my country. I have been very fortunate.
My story is one of a kid from a working class family who enlisted in the Navy after high school and returned to work in a local cement factory. But I had high hopes for myself and knew that a good education would lead to a better life. So I enrolled at SUNY New Paltz and worked the night shift at a New York State Thruway toll booth so I could pay for school while also having time to study at night.
My father always had a love of politics, and I also became involved in politics, eventually deciding to run for the New York State Assembly. And despite the fact that only one other Democrat had been elected from that area since the Civil War, I gave it my best and won. None of that would have been possible without an education and without an undying love for my state and my country.
I hope that my story inspires many others to take up public service and to give back to their community, state, and country. Despite all the turmoil, rancor, and pettiness we see in politics today, I still believe in public service. To me there are few things nobler than a person who chooses to serve their community, whether it is in public office, at a public agency or school, the military, or even volunteering through a local charity. We need more people to choose those paths and become strong, effective voices for the middle class.
As you all know, I went through a fairly serious health challenge during this past year. During that time, I received an outpouring of support, and I am forever grateful for all the well wishes and prayers I received. Such support helped get me through this. For that I am extremely fortunate.