randyn3  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

As the scripture says, there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.

I am writing this letter as my season as your Congressman is coming to an end. This season began June 5, 2003, when I was sworn in as only the fourth Member of Congress for the 19th District of Texas, the 236th Member of Congress from Texas, and the 9833rd American citizen to serve in Congress. To say holding this position has been an honor and a privilege is an understatement.

I wish I could play a video for you of all the wonderful experiences and memories I have had the past 13 years. These memories stretch across 29 counties and 29,000 square miles and to places around the world where our brave men and women defend our liberty and freedom. Someone asked me what I was going to miss the most, and that was an easy question. I will miss the people. Dana and I have met thousands of people along this journey, and we often remark what a blessing that has been. So many of you have been such an encouragement to us with your prayers and kind words.

When I began this season, I pledged to work hard every day to ensure that the values of the people I represent were represented in Congress. You may not have agreed with every vote I cast or every position I took, but what you can know is that each vote was cast with careful and prayerful thought and that I believed it was in the best interest of America.

I am amazed at the foresight our Founders had as they laid the cornerstone of this great nation with the Constitution. There are those who think the Constitution is out-of-date, but after serving in this great institution for seven terms, I am convinced it is as relevant today as it was the year it was signed. Yet, as I have served, I realize the freedoms and liberties we have enjoyed for over 200 years are at risk every day. The oath I took was to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Every day, our brave men and women are protecting our nation from foreign enemies that seek to bring our great nation harm. I have been to the places where they stand in our stead. My role has been to make sure the very nation they are defending is following the blueprint our Founding Fathers laid down to ensure that every American can enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

As I write this last Roundup, I want to close with these words. First, thank you. Thank you for entrusting me with the important role of representing you in the United States Congress. Second, don’t give up on America. While we have our challenges, ours is still the greatest country in the world. Where else could a young couple from West Texas experience the wonderful opportunities God has given Dana and me?

We feel truly blessed for every season we have traveled and feel especially blessed to have participated in this one. As we move into the next season in our lives, we pause to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas as we celebrate one of the most important seasons of all, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

May God bless you and may He continue to bless the United States of America.