Today, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election in 2008. Serving
the Third District of Mississippi over the last eleven years has been a
great honor. It has been, and continues to be, one of the greatest
experiences of my life. I have come to know well the people and communities
of our generous state.

I am thankful to all who helped elect me to six terms in the House. First,
to my family, Leisha and the boys, who worked hard in my campaigns and every
day to make my congressional service possible. My parents inspired my
service, set positive examples for me, and provided a good name and start. Our
family has been blessed by the many friendships and experiences we have made
along the way.

I have the good fortune of a talented, committed congressional and campaign
staff who have made lasting contributions to our country and state, fought
worthy battles, and run effective campaigns. In the process, we formed
committed friendships and a love for one another. They are my extended
family for which I am profoundly grateful.

Volunteers, family, and friends contributed their time, toil, and resources
to give me the opportunity to earn elections and serve in Congress. I
deeply appreciate all their efforts.

I am also fortunate to have been part of significant chapters in our
nation’s and Mississippi’s history. I love public service: creating and
shaping legislation, building our institutions and infrastructure, helping
communities and individuals.

With the rest of our congressional delegation, past and present, along with
state and local leaders, I worked to strengthen Mississippi. In Congress, I
focused on, and continue to press forward for, legislation and resources
vital to Mississippi priorities in agriculture, our military bases and
defense missions, veterans, energy, health care, telecommunications, and
economic development. I sought to make our culture more decent and our
communities stronger. After Hurricane Katrina, I am proud to have been a
part of and witness to a remarkable recovery, rebuilding and a defining
moment of our state and people.

As I close this chapter of my life, I see a stronger, more unified and
growing Mississippi. Our universities are leading research centers. Our
military, national, and homeland security contributions expand every day. We
are strategically transforming to a high-tech, high-wage, advanced skill
economy.

I look forward to continuing my service in this Congress as I fulfill this
term. Much important work remains to be done. We must complete the funding
for our state’s priorities. We face fundamental decisions regarding
Iraqand our efforts to defeat terrorism.
Energy, agriculture, health care and environmental legislation await our
return this fall and next year. Beyond that, I have no plans, but I am
content and confident that I will find new ways to serve and contribute.

Although I will not seek re-election to the next Congress, I will always
remain involved in community and political life. After eighteen years in
public service, starting in 1989 in the first Bush Administration, then on
Senator Lott’s staff, and most recently as a Member of the House, it is time
for me to gain new experiences in the private arena. I believe these
experiences will prepare me to be a better leader in the future. I continue
to view public service as a noble calling. I am not saying a final
farewell, but hopefully, simply taking a leave of absence.

I have a window of opportunity to maximize my time, influence and
participation in the lives of my five sons now ages 8 to 17. Time is the
one element I can never recover or regain. Being a father is one of life’s
greatest callings.

I make this announcement with a full heart and abiding faith in both our
country and great state. I look forward to working together to complete our
mission and fulfill our promise.

Rep. Chip Pickering Statement
8/16/7