Rep. Gregg Harper stunned most in the Mississippi political community by announcing that he will not be seeking re-election in 2018. He made it clear that this was part of a long deliberation and he will serve out the balance of his term in his various leadership capacities.
This will have a tectonic effect on politics in 2018 and 2019 and we will be analyzing more in the coming days.
“Serving as a Member of the United States House of Representatives has been the highest privilege and honor of my life. The opportunity to serve the people of the Third District, our state, and our country is something that my wife, Sidney, and I will never forget. We have been contemplating for almost two years when it would be our time not to run again, and after spending time over Christmas and New Year’s with my family, we made the very difficult decision to say that 10 years will be long enough. I never intended for this to be a career, and it will soon be time for another conservative citizen legislator to represent us. I will work hard over the final 12 months of my term this year, but I will not seek re-election for a sixth term.
Thanks to Speaker Paul Ryan, I have been allowed to serve as Chairman of the Committee on House Administration and work to make the institution of the House of Representatives more transparent, accountable and stronger for America’s future. I will work hard in a bipartisan manner over the remainder of my term to be a problem solver.
I will also miss being Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations where we will continue to work on such important issues as the opioid epidemic.
Last year, the Energy & Commerce Committee passed the SELF DRIVE Act, which will make great strides toward the safe development and deployment of self-driving cars. Self-driving car technology has the potential to provide new, more reliable modes of transportation which will lead to additional opportunities for the disability community and others who are unable to drive.
When I first arrived in the House, I started an internship program for college students with intellectual disabilities in the Mason Life Program at George Mason University that allowed them to work in House and Senate Member offices and get valuable work experience, develop skills and improve their confidence, as well as open the hearts of Capitol Hill staffers and Members to the vast possibilities of those young adults with special needs. Over 150 House and Senate offices have participated in this program.
As many of you know, our son Livingston, now 28 years old, has been a driving force in our lives. We have watched him, in spite of his special needs, overcome obstacles and succeed. Livingston, you are our inspiration!
Our precious daughter, Maggie, who was in the 11th grade when we first ran for office in 2008, has been amazing and worked as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. Now, we rejoice that she, and our son-in-law, Brett, are expecting their first child.
To my wife, Sidney, who has done all the heavy lifting for our family and of course, for me, thank you, and I could not have done this without you.
Finally, we humbly thank God that He has guided us through this entire journey and we trust Him with our future. Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best for our family.
I will truly miss serving in Congress, but I look forward to the years ahead as I continue to work on policy issues that matter, and I hope to spend more time in Mississippi. I have been blessed to have the best staff that any Member could ever have. I have also enjoyed serving with an incredible group of Members who care deeply about their districts and our country. I believe that America’s greatest days are yet to come.
May our great God continue to bless each and every one of you. Thank you for your encouragement, your support and your prayers.”
Senator Thad Cochran issued as statement
“Gregg Harper has been a hardworking and dedicated Congressman and it has been a pleasure to work with him. I commend him for his ongoing service to Mississippi and the nation. He is a good friend who has represented our state well.”
As did the Mississippi GOP’s Lucien Smith
“Congressman Harper has been a strong advocate for Mississippi over the last decade. I want to thank him for his dedication and service to make our party, our state, and our nation stronger. I wish Gregg and his family well as they embark on a new chapter, and I look forward to working with his successor to advance conservative policies at the national level.”