Mitchell Announces Retirement from Congress
WASHINGTON – This morning, Congressman Paul Mitchell (MI-10) gave the following speech on the House floor, announcing that he will retire at the end of the 116th Congress.
(Remarks as Prepared)
America is an amazing place and we too often as Americans take that for granted. Opportunities exist in this country that simply aren’t available in much of the world. And my life is an example of the many possibilities in the United States of America.
I ask you: Where else can a kid born into poverty, beginning life in a subsidized housing project, become a national legislator? Yet – here I stand as a Member of Congress.
In how many countries can the oldest of seven children with parents that were an hourly autoworker and a Salvation Army office manager become the first in their extended family to graduate from college, build a career and become CEO of a major workforce development company and, after retiring, be elected to Congress?
America is truly a unique and special place that we must love and respect with all our heart and soul.
My mother raised me to believe that those with talents and/or resources were expected by God to make a difference in the world. I have tried to do that throughout my life.
My mission for 35 years was to assist people in identifying and securing career opportunities. My professional career allowed me to support my family while assisting adults of all ages and backgrounds develop skills to support their families and build careers.
I assisted individuals ranging from laid off steel workers and autoworkers to long term public assistance recipients develop the skills they needed to secure a job and build a new career.
I worked with individuals requiring literacy education or ESL and adults that had worked in the same job for years and suddenly found their jobs and industries had evaporated, and their lives turned upside down.
I worked, in some way or another, with tens of thousands of people searching for assistance in securing a job and a career path.
I believed then, and I continue to believe, that most Americans find value and opportunity in working – sometimes they just need a hand and assistance to overcome adversity.
I brought that passion and commitment to Washington. I was, and remain, committed to making a difference in the world. I literally approached being a Member of Congress like my earlier career – full tilt and leaving no stone unturned to have a meaningful impact, and to make a difference on issues where I could.
It is an honor to stand on this floor, debate issues, and represent the people of Michigan’s 10th Congressional District. I am proud to be among the 12,500 or so Americans that have had the privilege of serving in Congress.
But I have also begun asking myself about making a difference for my family. My children of all ages - but the youngest just nine years old - have accepted their dad traveling this country extensively, working a demanding schedule, and frequently interrupting “family time” with calls, emails and text messages. My spouse Sherry has been so supportive and more patient than probably warranted.
A career in Washington has never been my objective. My objective has always been simply to work to address significant challenges this nation faces: health care, immigration, and infrastructure for example.
However, it appears to me that rhetoric overwhelms policy, and politics consumes much of the oxygen in this city.
The time has come to make a difference for my family – to focus my time and energy upon them – their needs and goals.
As George Washington is quoted: ‘I would rather be on my farm than emperor of the world.’
As a result – I have decided I will not seek to continue to represent Michigan’s 10th District next term. After serving out the remainder of the 116th Congress – I will return to my family and our small farm.
Thank you, and I yield back.”