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Public Statements

We Won't Realize How Much We Miss the News and Messenger Until it is Gone

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I share the pain of the many Prince William County residents and activists who are mourning the loss of the News & Messenger.

For the first time in 143 years, the Prince William community will no longer have a daily ``newspaper of record'' to document the births, deaths, and daily comings and goings of life in this vibrant county of nearly half-a-million people.

A community newspaper serves many roles for its readers. It is a necessary watchdog on local government. Its pages chronicle the triumphs and defeats of a community and its citizens. Its opinion pages reflect the varied views of county residents on issues of concern. It showcases the exploits of generations of high school athletes and awards bestowed on student scholars. And it provides a portal for local businesses to advertise their wares and services and local organizations to promote their activities.

No longer will the people of Prince William have a daily newspaper they can turn to and find out what happened at the previous night's Board of Supervisors, planning commission, or school board meetings. No longer will reporters localize the actions of the Congress or the White House so their readers understand how national policies and legislation will affect the county and its citizens. And no longer will proud parents be able to clip a story or photo about their child's game-winning goal, touchdown, or homerun and paste it in a scrapbook for the next generation to enjoy.

The News & Messenger, and the Potomac News and the Manassas Journal Messenger before it, have served a vital role in Prince William County for generations. Over the decades, the paper's reporters and editors made it their business to become experts on their Prince William community, its government, and its characters. They've had the unique role of digging deep into the fabric of their community and reporting what they saw in an unfiltered manner and without interference.

Since Prince William voters elected me to Congress, I've had the pleasure of dealing with the News & Messenger and Potomac News reporters and editors on many issues, and the honor of winning the endorsement of the paper's editorial board. I can say, unequivocally, that the staff of the News and Messenger were professionals in every sense of the word and they've made lasting contributions to the community they have served.

To Keith Walker, Aleks Dolzenko, Kari Pugh, Kip Hanley, Amanda Stewart, and all of the other staff members, past and present, who gave life and breath to the News & Messenger, I say thank you for a job well done. I also wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

As the News & Messenger's 143-year run draws to a close, I join with Prince William residents in bidding farewell to this venerable publication. The newspaper will be missed, and most of us won't realize how much we miss it until it's gone.

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