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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Gallagher Says Goodbye: "Drink More, Tweet Less"

Many posts have discussed civility in Congress.

 The closing words of Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), just before his resignation took effect:

It’s typical at moments such as these to say ‘‘I have no regrets.’’ This is true legislatively and professionally. I accomplished my mission and got to chair the most significant committee in the 118th congress. Yet I have a lingering personal regret. I wish I had devoted more time to building personal relationships with my colleagues. Our time here is frenetic: filled with overlapping committee hearings and constant fundraising events. It’s hard to carve out time just to get to know your colleagues, to understand their background and motivation, and thereby develop trust. 

Where I was able to do that, with Senator ANGUS KING my co-chair on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, and with RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI on the China committee, it produced the biggest legislative successes of my 8 years. Put differently, my effectiveness as Congressman wasn’t primarily a function of intellect or op-ed writing prowess and certainly not fundraising, it was a direct result of forging friendships across our caucus and maybe more importantly across the aisle. 

So if there’s a lesson in that for my successor or any of my colleagues it’s after a grueling day of a thousand meetings, still make the effort to get that beer with a member you don’t know that well. Drink more, tweet less. Get to know your colleagues in real life before trashing them on social media. At the end of the day, Republicans and Democrats, we’re all Americans, citizens of the greatest country in the history of the world. Even on our worst day the world is looking to us for leadership. God bless America.