‘That’s long enough,’ Smith prepares to leave Congress after 32 years

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Congressman Lamar Smith is serving his final days in Congress after more than 30 years of service on Capitol Hill. He spoke on Sunday’s State of Texas politics program about his years in DC, the work he still needs to do before ending his term and his memories of former President George H.W. Bush.

Rep. Smith was a junior member of Congress when Bush was President, and says he has only happy memories of the former 41st President. “I consider George Bush to be one of the most honorable men I’ve ever met,” he said. “One of the most honorable men in politics anyone could possibly encounter.” 

While Congress took time off to mourn the former President, they now face pressure to reach an agreement on border wall funding by Dec. 21. Smith says he’s confident Congress and the president will work together to reach an agreement by the deadline and avoid a partial government shutdown. 

“When you have a deadline before Christmas, that tends to focus people’s attention,” Smith said. 

Smith is in his last few weeks as a representative and he says though he has mixed feelings about his departure, he’s looking forward to coming home to Texas. 

“I have 30 years worth of friendships out here, I still have issues I care strongly about,” said Smith. “But it will be nice to spend time back home in Texas back home in San Antonio more time with the family.” 

Smith says he hopes that Texans remember him as someone who worked hard to try to represent his constituents. 

“They’re the ones who I really want to thank for their trust over the years,” he said. “That kind of trust is something you never forget and is something I will continue to appreciate.” 

During his time in Congress, he served as chairman of the Judiciary and Ethics Committees and is the current Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Rep. Smith served in the House of Representatives for 16 terms. He did not seek re-election in the 2018 midterm election. Republican Chip Roy will represent Congressional District 21 beginning in January.

“I have mixed feelings about leaving but no regrets,” Smith said. “I’ve been in Congress for 32 years. That’s long enough for just about everybody.”
 

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