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Farewell To Fellow Florida Members

Location: Washington, DC

FAREWELL TO FELLOW FLORIDA MEMBERS -- (House of Representatives - December 06, 2006)

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I join my esteemed colleagues this evening in paying tribute to the Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation who will be departing this body at the end of this week--Representatives CLAY SHAW, MIKE BILIRAKIS, JIM DAVIS, and KATHERINE HARRIS.

It has been an honor and a privilege to work with such fine Americans throughout my tenure in Congress.

Therefore, it is with great sadness that I begin by paying homage to one of our greatest leaders in Congress, CLAY SHAW.

During his 25 years as a Member of Congress, CLAY has demonstrated outstanding service, dedication, hard work, devotion, and love for the American people and our wonderful State of Florida.

As dean of the Florida delegation, CLAY has been a confidant and trusted advisor to many of us.

From offshore drilling, to insurance regulation, to hurricane relief, CLAY has led the Delegation to ensure that we work together on the issues important to Floridians.

Our delegation will never be the same without CLAY at the helm.

We can only hope that our next leader will be of the same caliber and possess equal skills and resourcefulness.

It has been a true pleasure to serve with CLAY, and I know that the legacy of his contributions to this distinguished body will serve as an example for Members both present and future.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my dear friend and colleague Michael Bilirakis for his 24 years of service to our Nation.

During his time in Congress, Mike has been a terrific spokesperson for his constituents, and they should be proud that he has served them with honor and distinction.

I have been fortunate to work with MIKE on many different topics affecting our communities locally and abroad.

Together we formed the Congressional Hellenic Caucus, a forum to promote the domestic interests of the Greek-American and Hellenic communities, and we have tackled issues of importance to the Hellenic community such as the just reunification of Cyprus and the appropriate name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

I am privileged to call Mike my friend, and I look forward to our continued friendship for many years to come.

I also look forward to working with his son Gus in continuing all the good work Mike has done for Florida.

I would also like to recognize the Representative from Tampa, Florida, Jim Davis.

Upon arriving to Congress in 1996, Jim was elected as President of the incoming freshman class by his Democrat colleagues, an early indication of his keen leadership abilities.

While we have differed on issues, we have been able to come together and work for the good of Florida and our constituents.

Jim has served this body for over a decade, and his colleagues from both sides of the aisle will miss him.

Lastly, Katherine Harris has been integral part of the Florida delegation and her presence will be sorely missed.

In her time here, Katherine has made a tremendous impression on all those she came in contact with.

Not only will her constituents miss Katherine, but she will be missed by her colleagues for the central role she had on all her committees, especially the International Relations Committee, where I was fortunate to have her as an ally on Middle East issues.

I also had the opportunity to travel to Iraq with Katherine, and meet with Iraqi officials, women Iraqi leaders, and our brave troops.

Her incredible optimism and keen understanding will be deeply missed by our close-knit Florida family.

In closing, I would like to offer my warmest wishes to Clay, Mike, Jim, and Katherine for their dedicated service to our country.

Whatever your next vocation may be, I am certain that you will all continue to serve the citizens of Florida and our great Nation with dignity and I look forward to working with you all again.

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