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In Final House Floor Speech, North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham Bids Adieu

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North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham is bidding farewell to Congress. Graham recently gave her final speech on the House floor.

Like her father, U.S. Representative Graham (D-FL) says public service is in her blood.

“I’m so very fortunate to have grown up in a family dedicated to public service,” she said, during her floor remarks. “I watched and learned from my father [Bob Graham] as he served as a state legislator, Florida’s Governor, and as a United States Senator…I never planned to follow in my father’s footsteps into politics. But, as our country became more divided, my thoughts began to change.”

Since she’s not seeking another congressional term, there is speculation that Graham could be trying to further follow in her father’s footsteps by planning a gubernatorial run in 2018.

But, for now, Graham says she’s just grateful she had a chance to represent the people of the 2nd Congressional District—in the Florida Panhandle.

“While working in Congress, the people of North Florida have never let me down,” added Graham. “I felt their love and support and each hug, whether at a press conference or along a parade route. I witnessed their compassion after Hurricane Hermine, when neighbors helped neighbors clear debris and shelter those in need.”

And, she says there were many successes.

“After winning my election, I immediately began reaching out to my Florida colleagues, republicans and Democrats,” Graham continued. “We were able to recruit almost the entire state delegation to support our Apalachicola Bay Restoration Act, and I cosponsored legislation with Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-FL) to protect the Everglades and with Congressman David Jolly (R-FL) to ban oil drilling off the coast of Florida.”

And, Graham says she’s glad to have helped benefit the whole state as well as her home district.

“And, I’m so proud of the work we did to bring the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s StrikeForce program to Florida,” she stated. “which will help rural counties to protect their communities, to grow their economies, and create jobs,. While we’ve had many successes in Washington, I’m even more proud of the work we accomplished in Florida. We’ve helped return more than $2 million in benefits owed to Florida seniors and families, including more than half a $1 million to veterans.”

And, for her parting words, she says current and incoming members of Congress should take the time to form friendships and put partisanship aside.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.