Stephanie Murphy Offers Last Speech on the House Floor Before Leaving Congress

This week, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.,., delivered her final remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Murphy’s farewell speech touched on her journey to Congress, her record on Capitol Hill and her hopes for the future of the country.

In 2016, Murphy upset longtime U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. She served three terms in Congress and announced at the start of the election cycle that she would not run for a fourth term. Murphy worked at the Pentagon under then-President George W. Bush.

Murphy said the following on the House floor this week:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker:

For the final time, I rise to address this chamber.

I am leaving here with a heart full of gratitude.

When I reflect on the path I’ve traveled, I still can’t believe it’s real.

A baby girl, born in post-war Vietnam, to parents facing persecution by the communist government. We fled our homeland by boat and were rescued by American sailors.

Our family was given refuge, granted citizenship, and provided opportunity in the United States. My mom and dad worked so hard to make ends meet. They struggled to overcome barriers of language and culture. All so I could have a better shot in life than they did.

My happiest childhood memories are of fishing with my father. On the water, he told stories about his old life in Vietnam. His new life wasn’t easy, but I know he felt blessed to be an American. Those who have endured the absence of freedom and safety rarely take their presence for granted.

As I grew up, I was encouraged and mentored by so many generous people, who expected nothing in return. I remember hoping that, one day, I might be in a position to help people—just as they helped me.

Over time, I realized that government service was a good way for me to chisel away at the infinite debt of gratitude I owe this country. I also discovered that it infused my professional life with a sense of purpose.

After the 9/11 attacks, I spent four years at the Department of Defense. It was a privilege to work alongside American patriots. I admired their singular focus on the mission—keeping our country safe from those who sought her harm. From them, I learned about courage and commitment.

A decade later, I heard the siren song of public service once again.

I had moved to central Florida. I was the mother of two young children and working at private sector jobs I enjoyed.

But I was worried about polarization in our political system. Although deep divisions in American politics have existed since the dawn of our Republic, there was something in the atmosphere that felt especially poisonous.

Too many Democratic and Republican leaders failed to treat one another with civility and decency. They were unwilling to express policy differences without making personal attacks or using irresponsible rhetoric.

Extreme partisanship led to legislative gridlock. Communities across the country paid the price, including my own. When a man shot 49 innocent people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, it seemed like yet another preventable tragedy that might have been avoided if common sense and political courage were on greater display in our nation’s capital.

If you want to change Washington, you need to change the type of people you send there, I told myself.

I thought I could do my part to make things a little better.

So, I launched a long-shot campaign for the people’s House, inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s view that credit belongs to the man—or woman—in the arena.

I was so excited when I became the first Vietnamese-American women elected to Congress. I thought about all the people who had lifted me up over the years. I confess I also thought about the people who had underestimated me.

I wished my dad were alive to see what his daughter had done, so he would know his sacrifices were worth it.

I vowed to work every day to prove I was worthy of the faith my constituents had placed in me.

As my congressional career draws to a close, I am proud of my service. I hope I earned the respect of those I represent. Whether they were Democrats, Republicans, or neither. Whether they voted for me or would never dream of voting for me.

This job isn’t easy, but nothing truly worth doing ever is. There are few places where you can make such a difference in people’s lives as you can in the United States Congress.

Ask the veteran who finally received the benefit they earned—thanks to the congressional office who broke through the bureaucratic red tape.

Ask the millions of Americans who got health and economic aid during the worst of the pandemic.

Ask the billions of people who will live on a cooler, cleaner planet because of the green investments we’ve made.

Ask the lion-hearted people of Ukraine, who defend their land with weapons we gave them because their fight is our fight.

And ask the police officers who risked their lives on January 6th and who hopefully find comfort in the fact that there is a bipartisan committee that seeks to honor their valor by telling the truth about that terrible day.

I will miss this place, and above all I will miss the people.

I’ve had wonderful colleagues, some of whom have become close friends.

My staff have been like a second family to me—loyal and devoted. We had so much fun together and achieved so much for our constituents and our country. To honor them, I am entering their names into the congressional record. Thank you, Team Murphy.

To my real family—Sean, Liem, and Maya: I love you. None of this would have been possible, or meaningful, without you. You’re going to be seeing much more of me, as you requested—and as you may come to regret.

I want to end with a word to young Americans, including young girls who look like me.

I hope you will consider government service. It requires many sacrifices, but the work is important and noble. Our nation needs good people with steady hands to steer the ship of state. People with integrity. People with common sense, who seek common ground. Patriots willing to put the public interest above their personal interests.

Representing my community and my country in Congress has been the greatest honor of my life.

Thank you—and, for the last time, I yield back.

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