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Perspective from 22 years on Capitol Hill

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.”

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This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

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