From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Remarks Honoring Congressman Joe Skeen

December 15, 2003

"Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise to pay tribute to former Congressman Skeen of New Mexico, who passed away this week after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Joe was a good friend and a dedicated public servant, and we will miss him terribly.

"Joe Skeen was a gentleman in the finest sense of the word. He treated everyone with respect and offered his friendship to all. The entire Congress would agree that Joe's character was of the highest quality. He had a wonderful sense of humor.

"Joe was a man of his district. Born and raised in New Mexico, he understood and worked for rural America. A sheep and cattle rancher, he understood the needs of his district--including schools, utilities, health care, and the many other particular requirements of a rural area--and he always fought to meet those needs. His attention to his district is just part of why his constituents made him the longest-serving Member of the House of Representatives from New Mexico.

"It was my good fortune to serve with Joe on the Appropriations Committee, where he served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Interior. It was on the Appropriations Committee that I learned how special he was. Throughout the often difficult process of writing and passing Appropriations bills, Joe was always known for his fairness and civility. He listened to his colleagues and tried to respond to their needs.

"Since his retirement last year, we have missed Joe in the Congress. He always put his country ahead of party and desired accomplishments for the American people most of all. He cared about the House of Representatives as an institution and about bipartisanship as a noble part of our work here. He elevated the character of the House of Representatives, and we are so grateful for his service here.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Mary, and their two children, Elisa and Mikell. I hope it is a comfort to them that so many people share their loss and are praying for them at this sad time."




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