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    Congressman Marion Berry won't seek re-election, cites health concern

    7:19 PM, Jan 25, 2010   |    comments
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    RPA Response to Berry Retirement:

    Little Rock - Upon learning that Congressman Marion Berry will not seek re-election, Republican Party of Arkansas Executive Director Chase Dugger says:

    "We thank Congressman Berry for his many years of public service. We're excited for the opportunity created by an open seat and we look forward to electing a conservative candidate who will represent the views and values of the first district."

     

    DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen's Statement on Congressman Marion Berry's Decision to Retire

    "For more than 30 years, the people of Arkansas's 1st District have had an outstanding leader and dedicated public servant in Representative Marion Berry. His work on agriculture, economic, and veterans' issues have positively affected the lives of many people in Arkansas and across America.

    "We are confident that this district will continue to elect a Democratic candidate who shares Representative Berry's values and commitment to standing up for the middle class in these challenging economic times.

    "On behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, I thank Representative Berry for his 13 years serving in Congress and wish him and his family all the best."  

     

    Ark. AG Dustin McDaniel's statement on retirement of Congressman Marion Berry:

    LITTLE ROCK--Today, Representative Marion Berry (D-AR) announced his intention to retire from Congress. Serving Arkansas's First Congressional District since 1997, Berry has been an unwavering advocate for Arkansas's seniors, service men and women, farmers and families. He was instrumental in the passage of the 2002 Farm Bill and has been recognized as a leading national voice on agricultural issues. As a licensed pharmacist, he has spent his career championing better drug coverage for Medicare recipients and more affordable prescriptions for all Arkansans. The Delta Regional Authority--a state, local and federal effort to bolster economic conditions and improve the lives of Delta residents--was created out of legislation that was introduced and passed by Berry.

    "I want to thank Marion Berry for his outstanding leadership and service to the First District of Arkansas. His many accomplishments will stand as a testament to his dedication to the working families he represents," said McDaniel. "Marion is more than a good friend to me. He is a valued mentor and inspiration in my own life and career, and he will remain so. I cannot thank him enough for all that he has done for me personally since we met 14 years ago.

    "With multiple open congressional seats, Arkansas politics is sure to be very interesting this year. I love serving Arkansas as our Attorney General, and I am hoping to be re-elected to a second term. Of course, the First Congressional District is my home. My family has been in Lawrence and Craighead Counties for many generations. In the coming days, many good people will consider making a run for this seat. I look forward to talking to the candidates and ultimately supporting one of them. However, today, my thoughts are with Marion and his family," McDaniel concluded.

     

    Statement from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter:


    "From his home base of Gillett, Marion Berry has been a strong and energetic voice for the economic and agricultural interests of Arkansas’s vast 1st Congressional District throughout his 13 plus years as Congressman. Shanti and I thank him for his three decades of vigorous public service and we extend our best wishes to Marion and Carolyn as they look forward to more family time with their children and grandchildren."

     

    U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln's statement on Congressman Marion Berry:

    Washington - U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln today made the following statement regarding Congressman Marion Berry's decision to retire at the end of this term:

    "I have worked closely with Congressman Berry since the days when I represented the First District, and he was serving in the White House as President Clinton's special assistant for Agricultural Trade and Food Assistance," Lincoln said. "We have remained close personal friends ever since, having shared the honor of representing the people of the First District.

    "As a strong voice for our Arkansas farmers and seniors, Congressman Berry has accomplished much for our state throughout his career in public service. Although his will be a tough act to follow, I will continue to seek his counsel on agriculture issues and other subjects of importance to Arkansas.

    "I have been proud to serve with Congressman Berry, and I send well wishes to him and his wife, Carolyn."

    U.S. Representative Mike Ross' statement:

    U.S. Representative Mike Ross of Prescott issued the following statement in response to U.S. Representative Marion Berry's announcement today that he will retire at the end of this year:

    "I have enjoyed serving in the U.S. House of Representatives with Marion for the past ten years. He and Carolyn are dear friends and I'll miss his common sense approach and the straight talk he brought to Washington. However, I totally respect his decision and wish him and his family all the best in the years ahead. I am committed to working with Marion on the issues important to Arkansas for the remainder of this year."

     

    Today's THV spoke with him by phone from Washington D.C.

    Berry says, "I have had developments in my own personal health since of the first of the year that have changed my life considerably and is probably going to be changed some more. It is not life threatening."

    Fellow Democrats call him an unwavering advocate for Arkansas' seniors, service men and women, farmers and families. He spent his career working for better drug coverage and more affordable prescriptions. Recently though, he's been frustrated with the health care debate.

    Berry explains, "I don't know if I have lost hope. It gets discouraging at times, but the American people always seem to rise to the occasion and I think that will happen this time too."

    Mariah Hatta with the Arkansas Democratic Party promises solid candidates. She says, "We all need to come together but we will continue to hold these two seats and not to worry but we do have a lot of work as we would have had if we had our incumbents."

    Berry is the sixth Democrat to leave in the last two months, but the first since the party's special election loss in Massachusetts last Tuesday.

    Arkansas Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb says, "Conservatives and Republicans throughout the state are fired up. They are tired of what has been going on in Washington. They are concerned about health care and the health care scheme and they are ready to make a major change."

    A Democrat has held the seat since 1875, but Berry adds it's perfectly possible this time for his party to lose.

    In a statement released Monday morning, Berry says he is at "perfect peace" with his decision and that he looks forward to returning home to Arkansas.

    The 67-year-old was first elected to his congressional seat after serving in the Clinton administration as a special assistant to the president for agricultural trade and food assistance.

    In 2008, he was re-elected without opposition. This year, he faced opposition from Republican Rick Crawford, who owns a regional agricultural radio network.

    Learn more about Congressman Marion Berry on his website.

    Congressman Berry's statement: 

    Washington, D.C. - After serving Arkansas's First Congressional District for 7 terms, Congressman Marion Berry (D-AR, 1st) announced today in the following statement that he would not seek reelection in 2010.

    "Since 1997, the people of the First Congressional District of Arkansas have entrusted me to serve them in Washington. It has been an honor I have never taken for granted and for their support I will be eternally grateful. After much prayer and consideration, I have decided it is time for me to return home to Arkansas. The people deserve a representative who has the ability to rise to the numerous challenges that face our state and our nation. As a lifelong farmer, time has taken its toll on my health and I am no longer able to serve the district with the vitality I once possessed. Therefore, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2010. I am at perfect peace with this decision and look forward to returning to the farm and my home state of Arkansas."

    During his time in Congress, Representative Berry has served on the House Agriculture Committee, the Budget Committee and in 2003 he was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee where he currently serves on the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and Transportation Housing and Urban Development subcommittees.

    Congressman Berry was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1996. Berry, a lifelong resident of Arkansas County, has been recognized for his effective leadership on a range of national issues while fulfilling his commitment to faithfully represent the citizens of the First Congressional District of Arkansas in Washington, D.C.

    U.S. Representative Mike Ross of Prescott issued the following statement in response to U.S. Representative Marion Berry's announcement today that he will retire at the end of this year:

    "I have enjoyed serving in the U.S. House of Representatives with Marion for the past ten years. He and Carolyn are dear friends and I'll miss his common sense approach and the straight talk he brought to Washington. However, I totally respect his decision and wish him and his family all the best in the years ahead. I am committed to working with Marion on the issues important to Arkansas for the remainder of this year." 

     

    (Copyright 2010 by Today's THV & The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

     

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