Congressman Cao: “It’s An Honor”
Reflections Upon Leaving Office
As you know, my term as your Congressman expires on January 2, 2011. It was an honor and privilege to represent you in Congress.
As one who came to the United States an eight-year-old orphan, knowing nothing of its language and customs, I consider it a great honor to have served in Congress, representing a District as culturally rich and diverse as New Orleans and Jefferson Parish at a time when it was in sore need of strong leadership that put public service ahead of self-interest, the people above partisanship.
As your Congressman, I made many decisions and cast votes on hundreds of bills. I realize that some of my positions were not popular. At times, I had to choose between what was popular and what I believed was right. It wasn’t always easy. But I can say here now that I leave office with a clear conscience.
Every Representative makes mistakes. I’m sure I made mine, but know that I took my job as your Congressman very seriously. I thought long and hard about my decisions and how to vote. Sometimes, it was agonizing. But I always acted in the ways I thought best for my people and my District. It was never about me. It was all about doing right by them.
Today, I am full of hope that the sense of integrity we restored to Louisiana’s 2nd District Congressional seat will set the pace for a new way of doing business in Washington: a way of doing business that puts the public ahead of partisanship, service above selfishness or special interests.
As we push forward our recovery from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the stakes are very high. Never has the need for political integrity been greater.
Let there be no mistaking the fact your voice was and will be heard. Rest assured, while I will no longer be serving as your Congressman, I will stay hard at work promoting and defending the causes I hold dear: honesty in public service, good government, recovery for Louisiana, human rights and justice for all.
Top 10 Achievements
In any endeavor, one is seldom one’s surest critic. Even so, I will take a stab at listing my top 10 achievements in office these past two years, not necessarily in order of impact or importance.
1. Showing up unannounced at FEMA’s regional office in New Orleans, documenting evidence of incompetence and mismanagement, giving Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano no other choice but to reorganize the staff and streamline operations, cutting through the bureaucratic red tape that was holding up our recovery.
2. Securing the release of more than $2 billion in FEMA recovery dollars for New Orleans and Jefferson Parish through revisions to the Stafford Act and other reforms.
3. Securing a commitment from U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to help keep Avondale Shipyards open beyond 2013, when Northrop-Grumman plans to cease operations.
4. Passing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2010, saving 800 jobs at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility.
5. Introducing legislation for Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states to take part in accelerated oil revenue sharing for purposes of funding coastal restoration from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
6. Persuading the Administration to lift the moratorium on offshore oil drilling.
7. Winning IRS tax breaks for victims of Chinese Drywall.
8. Successfully pursuing a constiuent-driven agenda, processing and responding to 139,000 letters from the general public, holding nine health fairs, two jobs fairs, two service academy days for prospective military officers, townhall meetings on the Chinese Drywall problem and hurricane and emergency preparedness, a BP claims and resource fair, and a tele-townhall meeting on general concerns every other week during non-blackout periods.
9. Establishing a non-partisan voting record, demonstrating the political courage to work across the aisle for the benefit of constituents.
10. Restoring honor and integrity to Louisiana’s 2nd District Congressional seat.