For the past three years, I have had the great honor and privilege of serving the people of Massachusetts in the Senate. Although I served for only three years, and losing this past election was disappointing, that disappointment is tempered by the great respect I have for the judgment of the people of this Commonwealth. To all the people of Massachusetts, I count myself in your debt, for the confidence you placed in me, and for allowing me to represent you.
When I arrived as a newcomer in the Senate, a lot of courtesies were extended to me. Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren deserves and will receive the same over the coming weeks, as I look forward to helping my successor make a good start. Like me, she’ll be confronted with difficult choices and tough calls. I was encouraged to hear her say following the election that she recognized how people — including many who supported me — yearned for a new era of bipartisan cooperation, and that she would work in that spirit to help get things done. That’s a cause worthy of all our support, and I wish her the best.
I never wanted to go to Washington just to be a senator. I ran because I believed our country was on the wrong track, and I thought I could help by being an independent voice more interested in building bridges than burning them. I kept my promise to be bipartisan, and to serve the interests of everyone in our state. Because we refused to bow to special interests, because we were willing to work across the aisle, we actually got things done to make a positive difference in the lives of our people. We should be incredibly proud of all that we’ve accomplished.
This collaborative and constructive approach helped us pass a Wall Street reform bill to rein in the excesses that brought on the financial crisis; eliminate the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that kept gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military; create a new “crowdfunding” platform for start-up businesses to raise capital from thousands of small investors so they could grow and create jobs; incentivize businesses to hire returning veterans; and to finally prohibit insider trading among members of Congress.
Our country continues to face many big challenges, and some have already lingered on far too long, mired down by political gamesmanship and unyielding partisanship. The only way to achieve real progress is for our elected leaders to give a fair hearing not just to ideas but also to each other. The citizens of Massachusetts and across the country deserve nothing less.
Whatever the future holds for me, I’m a grateful man. I’m fortunate to have been where I’ve been and to return to a family and a place I love. I have a lot of catching up to do, especially with Gail and the girls, and my parents. My dad is in the twilight of his life and suffering from Parkinson’s disease. It’s a horrible condition, but I’m so glad that these past few years gave me the second chance to develop the relationship with him that I never had as a kid.
If there’s anything my life has taught me, it’s that there’s always a second chance. I first realized this when a judge in Salem, Samuel Zoll, found in his courtroom a roughneck teenager who had been caught stealing. He taught me a life lesson about compassion and the responsibility we all have to each other. He changed the direction of my life, and I will seek out ways to continue my service to my neighbors and to the people of Massachusetts in one way or another. I’ll continue to support the charities doing good work for important causes like preventing domestic abuse and supporting troubled youth. I’ll continue to speak out on important issues and work where I can to help find solutions.
The only way to achieve real progress is for our elected leaders to give a fair hearing not just to ideas but also to each other.
For me, it was an honor to carry your flag in the Senate, if even for a little while, and I thank you, my friends, for that privilege.