MIDLAND, Texas (BIG2/FOX24) – U.S. Representative Mike Conaway called an emotional news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce his decision for retirement. After 15 years of service, he says it is time for him to step down and pass the baton.
“My vocabulary is not good enough to describe just how proud I am, and what an honor and privilege it has been, to serve the folks of District 11,” said Conaway. “You know, a part of it is closing a door on something that you love. If it doesn’t hurt a little bit, then maybe you didn’t love it very much.”
Conaway has served as a crucial asset in Washington D.C. for the past two years. He headed up the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, and also dedicated himself to passing the Farm Bill – along with other initiatives.
“The timing wise has to do with leadership,” explained Conaway. “I told folks for 14 years that if I was no longer a leadership, and didn’t have influence beyond my own vote, then I was coming home.”
Above all else, he says he will miss the work, the people, and his team.
“You cannot get into the House without looking the good people in the eye and asking them for their vote, asking them to trust you,” explained Conaway. “It is a high honor, it is a great responsibility, and I’ll miss it.”
And the one who stayed by his side since Conaway ran for Congress in 2002, was his wife Suzanne Conaway. She says the journey has not always been easy, but it is one she knew was worth the wait.
“I told him, I said, ‘I’ll keep voting for you as long as you keep doing a good job.’ And I’m proud to say I voted for him every single time,” said Suzanne. “We’ll miss it. We’ll miss the people and the opportunities to do the wonderful things that we got to do that most people don’t get to do. But, it’s time.”
While the farewell is bittersweet, she says she is excited to finally spend quality time with her husband and to show up for their grandchildren.
“I think the hardest thing for me were the times that he missed with our family and our grandchildren. He was not able to be there for football games, and soccer games, and cheerleading, and dance recitals, and birthday parties…”
The couple’s retirement plan is to finish their lifetime bucket list of cross country road trips. Before being elected into Congress, the two made a promise to travel to every state capitol and take a picture on the steps. Suzanne says they have been to about 35 and has about 15 more to go.
“Go to Mount Rushmore, and go to the Grand Canyon, and take some pictures on the steps of the capitols along the way.”