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Thanking David, Joshua, and Daniel Shimkus

Floor Speech

Date: July 21, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, I rise again, this time to thank my boys, now young men, for their love, support, and understanding during my time as a Member of Congress.

As I stated yesterday, when I was sworn in for my first term in January 1997, David was 3 years old, Joshua was 1 year old. In 1999, Daniel was born.

After completing this term, I will have served 24 years. My sons will be 28, 25, and 21, respectively. So their entire lives have been having their dad as a Member of Congress.

I always joked that, in the early days, the boys were packageable. In the district, we just packed them up and hauled them around. Yes, this meant diapers, changes of clothes, Lunchables. Well, you get the idea.

Yet they had a chance to visit county and State fairs. They also had to sit through more than their fair share of political dinners, and, oh, the parades in every season and in every weather condition. Fruities and Tootsie Rolls were our chosen candy. A child can only eat so many.

As they grew, they started to be involved in other activities. I tried to be as supportive as possible. Whether it was recreational soccer, singing in the St. Louis Children's Choirs, Suzuki violin lessons, or activities at church and school, I tried to pick up the slack where and when I could.

I am still burdened by the events missed. One particular troubling time was missing an entire baseball season. David's games were on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in that year, we were either traveling to D.C., in D.C., or returning home. Because of a fluke in the schedule, I had a chance to make a game, so I hopped on a plane, just to find out that, while I was landing, it was raining.

I did help coach Joshua's soccer team 1 or 2 years. Sometimes I was that good example and sometimes I was not.

I cheered loudly and supportably for Daniel. Sometimes I was that good example in the stands and sometimes not. I think my problem was trying to make up for missed time, becoming too engaged in their competitions.

Having one type A parent is challenging, but having two can be overwhelming. You have to ask my sons how they perceived their father. To me, they continued to be supportive and knew that I was making every effort to share in their life activities. This is something that I try to do even today, much to their chagrin.

David now works for a major utility as a computer programmer. Joshua is here on the Hill after a stint in the Peace Corps. Daniel is attending a major university closer to home. We check in frequently and continue to have each other's backs.

The boys, now young men, continue to be close and also check in with each other. They probably spend much of their time talking about their parents.

Mr. Speaker, I want to publicly thank them for their support over the years. I want to apologize for the times that I placed work over family and ask their forgiveness.

I am very proud of them.