U.S. Rep. Steven Rothman's e-mail to PolitickerN.com:
I wonder who gave out the creative writing assignment to suggest that I was retiring from Congress? After all, I love helping my constituents, bringing an unprecedented amount of federal dollars back to many regions in New Jersey (as our only Democratic Appropriations Committee member); and working with my House colleagues and the Obama White House in matters of our national security and foreign affairs. And I'm running for reelection in 2010, and for many years more.
As for my political posture in New Jersey, I guess it is as good as anyone's, maybe better. I and others recall with pride my early and strong support of Jon Corzine for Governor, Loretta Weinberg for Lieutenant Governor, Bob Menendez for US Senate, Frank Lautenberg for reelection to the US Senate, and Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination and later the Presidency of the United States. I have more campaign funds than all but one of my friends in the NJ Congressional delegation, with the 10th highest total of all 256 Democratic House members in fact. And I am from Bergen County, the most populous in the state, also representing parts of Hudson County and Passaic County.
My health and that of my family is good, knock wood, and I'm still able to make my mortgage payments. And even after the 10 Town Hall Meetings on Health Care I did in New Jersey in August–the most, by far of any of my Congressional colleagues–my approval rating in my district hovers between 68-70%.
But above all else, I am having some of the most satisfying time as a public official (including my labors of love as Englewood's Mayor and Bergen County's Surrogate Court Judge) ever. Its something about making my contribution to my neighbors' well-being and fighting for social justice at every turn, and working every day to "repair the world" that still drives me and fulfills me.
As a member of, arguably, the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives, the Appropriations Committee–and as a member of its Subcommittees on Defense; Foreign Operations, and Homeland Security, I never have a dull day. As a member of the Science and Technology Committee, I even get to work on the most cutting edge research and technology, covering just about every field under the sun and including the sun.
And so, while I did turn 57 years old this past week, let's remember that our longest-serving lion in the Senate, Frank Lautenberg (who we wish to serve till he's at least 120), didn't get to the Senate till he was 58 years old.
As for dreams of Senate sugarplums dancing in my head, well, I remain committed to the notion that "what is meant to be, will be". In the meantime, I will continue to abide by what I've advised my 2 children and 3 stepchildren to do: "Appreciate all that you have, because you have so much".
To those who would seek my seat, I tell them to wait a bunch of more terms–if the people will continue to have me as their Congressman. To those who wish to gain some advantage in a future Senate race, I hope your actions are ones you're proud of. To those who may not like me, there must be some :-), I wish you well–and don't let your bad feelings cause you too much unhappiness…..but just enough.
Congressman Steve Rothman