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Recognizing Personnel

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 18, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, many of us know that the House could not function without the professional nonpartisan personnel who ensure that we can do our job. We do at times as an institution pause and thank them, but now it is time for me to do it personally. I thank them for their commitment, dedication, and their hard work.

It would be difficult to start without mentioning the Capitol Police. They are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Since my time here, some have fallen in the line of duty, others injured protecting those placed in their care. These are only the events that I know. I can only imagine the stories that they could tell. Thank you.

I owe thanks to the Office of the Attending Physician. This concierge service helps us stay healthy and keeps us informed on how this job affects our health. There have been many times when I have watched them scramble to attend to the health needs of a Member or one of our visitors.

In the Army we are fond of saying the Army moves on its stomach. So does the House of Representatives. We and our guests can find food in numerous locations. This morning, I picked up my breakfast right here in the basement of the Capitol. Lunch, who knows, but I do not fret that I will not be able to find something.

When we depart for the day, the cleaning crew comes in. They are long gone by the time most of us arrive the next day.

Mail and newspapers are dropped off by couriers. Lightbulbs are replaced. Pictures are hung up and, in my case, taken down. Photos are taken of us and our guests in major events.

Audiovisual connectivity for Chamber and Committee activities, so the public can observe our deliberations, is ensured. And, again, as I observe this morning, the electronic voting system was turned on and checked.

The recorder takes down every word, sometimes in the heat of a rhetorical exchange, which eventually helps the Chamber sort out the claims, reconcile them, and return to business.

I also want to point out the friendly faces and voices from the Office of the Clerk of the House. Many of them are right in front of me, Mr. Speaker. These nonpartisan employees record, file, keep in order, track time, and help the Speaker or Speaker pro tempore identify Members and call on them.

The wizard of the House is the Parliamentarian and his staff. I have known four over my career. They are the keeper of the Jeffersonian rules and precedents. Any Member who is smart and up to some trickery best run their idea by the Parliamentarian. They will not only provide great counsel, but will keep the discussion confidential.

My thanks go to the Office of Member Services. They processed me in and are now processing me out. They are our office of human resources and, as with everything, as time passes, so do your needs. I have checked with them often over the years, and that has helped prepare for my departure.

Also assisting me is the Office of House Ethics. The last thing I want to do is screw something up as I walk out the door. They, too, are 24/7 and only a phone call away.

Any time you create a list, you risk forgetting someone or some office. If I have done so, please forgive me. It has been a great ride, and the nonpartisan professional staff who cover the everyday activities deserve my thanks and, with that, I thank you.