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Welcoming New Republican Members of Congress

Location: Washington, DC

WELCOMING NEW REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS -- (House of Representatives - November 16, 2004)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 7, 2003, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Chocola) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.


Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me. I think that message right up there says it all: "America Speaks." And America spoke very loudly and correctly on November 2, 2004. November 2, 2004, was really a great day not only for the Republican Party but for the American people in this country as well. President Bush won reelection by over 3.5 million votes on that day, becoming the first Presidential candidate to win more than 50 percent of the vote since 1988.

The Republican majority also maintained the majority in both the House and the Senate, while also gaining seats in both Chambers. For House Republicans, that means this cycle Republicans made history by increasing their majority two cycles in a row. This historic game proves the critics' claims that the House was up for grabs and there was a general discontent among American voters with the Republican leadership false. Those arguments were all wrong. Republicans won 22 of the 39 so-called hotly contested seats.

Yes, on November 2 the voters confirmed that the agenda of this Republican-led Congress is in fact best for America and what the Americans want; that the Americans are for tax relief for American families and hard-working Americans everywhere; that they realize that their economic and growth policies of these last several years are right for America; that our job creation and pro-growth policies have worked. Perhaps more importantly, they realize that America's security is best in the hands of the Republican President and this Congress.

So I want to congratulate not only the President but also these newly elected Members of Congress today that made this historic feat possible. And I look forward to working with them as they come in January to be sworn in to further the successes in the 109th Congress. Because we must deliver on the confident hope of millions of American voters across this country.

We are going to be faced with enormous challenges ahead; and in a bipartisan effort, we must really support behind this agenda. So I welcome two new Members to this Congress. JOHN R. "RANDY" KUHL, JR., of the southern tier of the western New York region was elected to the 29th Congressional District in New York, and he is one of those great new Members. Now, KUHL's past experiences will bring a wealth of information and experience to this Congress. It includes three consecutive terms in the New York State Assembly and election to the State senate in 1986. There he was appointed to the senate as assistant majority leader for house operations back in 1995. He also served as senate chairman of the senate Standing Committee on Agriculture in 1987 through 1999 when he was then appointed chairman of the senate Standing Committee on Education. He served as chairman of that committee up until 2003 when he was appointed chairman of the senate Standing Committee on Transportation.

KUHL is also a former State chairman of ALEC, a group that I am familiar with, that is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group for States rights, and vice chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures, that is the NCSL. In addition to this, he is a member of the senate Select Committee on Interstate Cooperation, the New York State Early Intervention Coordinating Council, the NCSL assembly on State issues, their committee on education, and their assembly on Federal issues and their committee on education, labor and workforce development. Also another national organization, the CSG, the Council of State Governments' Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, and the CSG Eastern Regional Conference Committee on Economic Affairs.

With all of this we know that he is going to be a valued addition to this Congress, and we welcome Congressman KUHL.

I would also like to welcome newly elected Representative THELMA DRAKE. Ms. DRAKE served as a delegate in the Virginia house for 9 years to represent the people of the 87th district. She is also a Realtor with RE/MAX Allegiance Realty's Hampton Roads home team, and she has worked as a Realtor in real estate for over 20 years.

DRAKE also served on the house finance, the general laws, rules and commerce and labor committees; and as a long-standing member of that committee on general laws she served as chairman of its subcommittee on housing and also as chairman of the finance tax preference committee.

In addition, she has held a leadership position in that Republican house majority. In addition to all this as well, she has served as chairman of the Virginia housing commission, is a member of the mayor's task force on ocean view, and is a board member of the Virginia Zoological Society, and also a recipient of the John Marshall Alliance for Leadership and Property Rights.

We welcome Ms. DRAKE. Her background and skills will be an asset to the House. As we have heard of all of the accomplishments of all the Members and the Members that we are about to hear as well, these accomplished individuals to the Republican freshman class of 2005 is a strong loop and will remain committed to working in the House of Representatives promoting the values of the American people, and I welcome you all.


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