I have been truly privileged to serve as United States Representative from Hawaii’s Second District since November 30, 2002. As my current term expires on Wednesday, January 3rd, I am filled with so many thoughts and emotions, but mostly with the deepest gratitude.

First and foremost, to my constituents, for entrusting me with the responsibilities and duties of this office and for guiding my decisions. Despite the barriers of time and distance, and inevitable differences of opinion among us, I always carried a sense of deeper partnership with you and our fellow citizens, and I am thankful for your sustenance.

Second, to my great staff, for whom this was also far more than just a job. I want to recognize those who served you as well: Chris Abbott; Liane Ashikawa; Michelle Ashitomi; Jennifer Beppu; Tim Carson; Jackie Conant; Jan Higashi; Yvonne Kearns; Esther Kia’aina; Russell Kudo; Peggy Lui; Mary Love; Caroline Morgan; Zeny Muyot; Jimmy Nakatani; Tim Nelson; Randy Obata; Pam Okimoto; Caleb Rowe; Anne Stewart; Dean Toyofuku; Darrell Villaruz; Roberta Weatherford; and Pat Wong.

And third, to you, for participating in our democracy. Our system of government depends on full participation, and I thank you for doing just that by interacting with me through these e-newsletters and otherwise. Please stay involved; you are needed.

The times in which I have served have not been easy ones. The pace of change has quickened; the issues and decisions facing us increasingly complex; the true consequences of each decision uncertain. I have seen the best and worst of our country and world, felt great promise on some days and deep disillusionment on others, had my own successes and failures, made the best decisions I could but regretted some, finished much but left much unfinished.

Beyond all of this, though, I leave office with the deepest faith, fiercest pride, and most abiding hope and optimism in our country. For ultimately my time in Congress has only strengthened my belief in the wisdom and resilience of our system of government and in our collective ability, despite occasional detours, to determine the best future for each and all of us.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. My staff and I wish for your and yours only the best for 2007 and the coming years.

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards.