“I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election to Congress in 2008. I deeply appreciate the privilege the people of the 7th District have given me during the past seven years, and it has been my honor to represent them and our country.
“My wife, Maureen, and I have four children, the oldest of whom is 9 years old. Since first being elected in 2000, I have strived to balance my responsibilities to my family and to my constituents. I am indebted to Maureen, whose love, selflessness and patience allow me to meet my obligations to my constituents – from votes in Congress that extend past midnight to multiple trips each week between Washington and New Jersey and back again. Being a representative in Congress is more meaningful than I had imagined, and I know that now is the right time to step away from public life to focus more on family life while our children are still young.
“Before being elected to Congress, I taught high school and college, and I earned a master’s degree in education policy. As I explore other opportunities, I hope to include some time in the classroom to share with students my passion for public service and encourage them to serve others and our country.
“I am proud of the many issues and accomplishments of which I have been a part during my four terms in Congress: from writing the Lifespan Respite Care law in 2006 to advocating successfully for tax relief, affordable prescription drugs and funding for first responders.
“Maureen and I were humbled to offer comfort to those 81 families in the 7th District who lost loved ones in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and I am honored to work with some of those same families who founded MyGoodDeed.org to turn the anniversary of that terrible day into a day of service to others.
“I am particularly proud to have worked on behalf of those New Jerseyans who have served our country – and for the members of our Armed Forces who this very day sacrifice to protect our nation. From securing overdue service medals to ensuring veterans receive the health care they deserve, the cause of our brave men and women in uniform is a critical part of my daily work – and central in my prayers.
“Perhaps closest to my heart, I have worked to be a voice for our country’s children: I have visited countless schools throughout the 7th District and talked with students about how government affects them and how they can affect government; I have championed special education and children’s health care, and fought for tougher laws to combat Internet predators and unsafe imported toys. And I have consistently stood up for our most vulnerable children, those who have yet to be born.
“I am a proud Republican, but I have also worked across party lines to bring people together and achieve results. I am grateful for the friendships, both personal and professional, that I have developed among both Republicans and Democrats in New Jersey and Washington.
“After winning re-election in an extraordinarily challenging year for Republicans in 2006 and then witnessing the impressive gains Republicans made in the 7th District just this month, I am confident that Republicans will nominate a candidate who will continue to reflect the mainstream values of voters in the district and be elected as our next representative in 2008.
“I will energetically serve the balance of this my fourth term in the House. I have long said that public service is an important and meaningful calling, and I still deeply believe that it is. I will always be grateful for and appreciative of my congressional staff, each of whom shares my belief in public service and has helped me to ensure that every constituent in the 7th District receives the service and attention they deserve.
“Finally, for those who, beginning years ago, walked through the snow to deliver a yard sign to a neighbor, or addressed endless envelopes, or cold-called people you didn’t know to talk about my campaign for Congress – I am humbled by your commitment, your sacrifice and your passion. Without you, none of this would have been possible.
“From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful to God, and to my family, friends and supporters who have been instrumental in making these years of service both possible and fruitful.”