By Irinna Schwenke
After 22 years serving the people of Northern Utah, Congressman Jim Hansen announced Tuesday, Jan. 8, that he will retire from public office at the end of 2002.
“Public service is a great honor and privilege, as well as a public trust,” Hansen said. “I am truly honored to have served the people of Utah and America as an elected official … After a lot of thought, I feel it is time to move on.”
Hansen cited his family as his main reason for retirement.
“He”s tired of flying back and forth and he wants to spend time with his grandkids and do a little fly fishing,” said Michael Dunn, district director.
Dunn said the district holds no ill feelings.
“We realize that it”s time for him to spend time with his family and we support him 100 percent.”
Fellow Congressman Jim Matheson, D-Utah, said Hansen”s retirement will affect him because of the personal assistance Hansen has provided him.
“He and his staff were very helpful to me during my first year in Congress, especially when it came to getting our constituent services up and running,” Matheson said.
Matheson said he feels Hansen has been a “powerful voice for Utahns in congress” and said it will be hard to imagine the Utah political scene without him.
Senator Bob Bennett, R-Utah, also said Hansen”s retirement will leave a “giant hole” in the Utah delegation.
“He has been a major force in the United States Congress … His alumni is scattered around Washington, D.C., and will continue to represent him and the state of Utah with excellence and distinction,” Bennett said.
Hansen also put Utah on the map as the only committee chairman in Congress to come from the beehive state.
Hansen was noticed early on as he served on the ethics committee, on the resources committee during the wilderness and public lands fights, and in national defense fights while in the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees.
Although his retirement has been announced, Hansen stressed he will not be a lame duck.
“In this final year of my service in the Congress, I fully intend to give my all, and not let up until the end of my term at the end of 2002,” Hansen said.
“I feel we can accomplish many good things for Utah and America during the last year of my service,” he said.