Citizen Staff Writer
Jim Kolbe this week left the U.S. House of Representatives after 22 years. The Republican from southern Arizona decided more than a year ago not to seek a 12th term in the nation’s capital.
This week, on the day when he went from being a congressman to an ex-congressman, Kolbe sat down with members of the Tucson Citizen Editorial Board to look back – and ahead. Some highlights:
“I just don’t want to go back up to Capitol Hill and lobby my colleagues. I just don’t feel comfortable. Do I think lobbying is wrong? No, I have very close, good, wonderful relationships with some lobbyists. I just didn’t want to do it. Others do it and it’s fine and it’s great. I just didn’t want to do it.”
On immigration reform: “The president and the Democrats are more nearly on the same wavelength than certainly the House Republican leadership was.”
On advice for his successor, Gabrielle Giffords: “I don’t know that she needs a lot of advice. I think it’s pretty obvious what you have to do to be successful. I think in this district you have to be pretty centrist, you have to work hard, you have to maintain close contact with people. I think I’ve set a standard in that regard and people expect to see the congressperson home on a regular basis and they want to see him out and about.”
“This election was about the war in Iraq and it was about voters saying they want to send a message to Bush and the only message they could send was through congressional elections.”
“No. No. I do not intend to be a candidate for public office again. Would I serve in government again? Yes. But I do not intend to be a candidate for office again.”