Senator Tom Coburn Announces Retirement at End of 2014

Senator Tom Coburn Announces Retirement at End of 2014

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn (R) will retire at the end of the current Congress. He has been battling a recurrence of prostate cancer.

“Serving as Oklahoma’s senator has been, and continues to be, one of the great privileges and blessings of my life,” said Coburn, 65. “But after much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I will leave my Senate seat at the end of this Congress.”

“As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere,” Coburn said in his statement. “In the meantime, I look forward to finishing this year strong. I intend to continue our fight for Oklahoma, and will do everything in my power to force the Senate to re-embrace its heritage of debate, deliberation and consensus as we face our many challenges ahead.”

“My commitment to the people of Oklahoma has always been that I would serve no more than two terms. Our founders saw public service and politics as a calling rather than a career. That’s how I saw it when I first ran for office in 1994, and that’s how I still see it today. I believe it’s important to live under the laws I helped write, and even those I fought hard to block.

Coburn is one of the most fiscally conservative senators on the hill and became famous for his annual wastebooks produced at the end of the year. He is also known for being a lawmaker who does what he wants and does not care what others think. In December 2010, he grew a beard and generated a mini-media frenzy. Many thought the growth was for a cause, but he simply said he was tired of shaving.

The senator recently told reporters he would finish serving his term but warned hi plans could change at any time. Test results regarding his cancer are due in February, and they will determine Coburn’s future medical treatments. Prostate cancer first hit him in 2011, but he has also suffered from colon cancer and melanoma. He had surgery six years ago on a benign brain tumor. However, he told Politico the chemotherapy is no harder than previous treatments, and friends said he has not changed his routine.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), a close friend, said the Oklahoma senator is responding “remarkably well” to the treatment. He said Coburn still joins the group of senators who dine out virtually every night when Congress is in town — a group that occasionally includes House Speaker John Boehner and frequents locales on Capitol Hill’s trendy Barracks Row and H Street neighborhoods.

Here is a copy of Senator Coburn’s statement:

“Serving as Oklahoma’s senator has been, and continues to be, one of the great privileges and blessings of my life. But, after much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I will leave my Senate seat at the end of this Congress.

“Carolyn and I have been touched by the encouragement we’ve received from people across the state regarding my latest battle against cancer. But this decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires. My commitment to the people of Oklahoma has always been that I would serve no more than two terms. Our founders saw public service and politics as a calling rather than a career. That’s how I saw it when I first ran for office in 1994, and that’s how I still see it today. I believe it’s important to live under the laws I helped write, and even those I fought hard to block.

“As a citizen legislator, I am first and foremost a citizen who cares deeply about the kind of country we leave our children and grandchildren. As I have traveled across Oklahoma and our nation these past nine years, I have yet to meet a parent or grandparent who wouldn’t do anything within their power to secure the future for the next generation. That’s why I initially ran for office in 1994 and re-entered politics in 2004. I’m encouraged there are thousands of Americans with real-world experience and good judgment who feel just like I do. As dysfunctional as Washington is these days, change is still possible when ‘We the People’ get engaged, run for office themselves or make their voices heard. After all, how else could a country doctor from Muskogee with no political experience make it to Washington?

“As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere. In the meantime, I look forward to finishing this year strong. I intend to continue our fight for Oklahoma, and will do everything in my power to force the Senate to re-embrace its heritage of debate, deliberation and consensus as we face our many challenges ahead.

“My God bless you, our state and our country.”

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