LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's a political changing of the guard. Congressman John Yarmuth has been a mainstay in the House of Representatives. He first took office in 2007 to represent the people of Louisville.
On Dec. 14, 2022, he gave his last speech on the floor of the House.
Yarmuth recalled a conversation he had several years ago with a former member of the House. He said his former colleague said, "I don't miss the circus. I miss the clowns."
“Now that I'm in my final days as a member and I've reflected on my 16 years here, I'm going to tweak that line," Yarmuth said. "I won't miss everything about the circus. And I will miss many — but not all — of the clowns. I also now understand why so many people are afraid of clowns.”
Yarmuth’s departure from the house came with little fanfare. At the time of his last address, the House chamber was relatively empty.
However, fanfare isn’t something Yarmuth was known to seek. Many describe him as calm, steady, and understated.
“I cannot imagine a member of Congress who has more warmly received by his constituents throughout his time in office,” he told WHAS11 News.
Yarmuth was elected to 8 times. During much of his time in Washington, he was Kentucky’s only Democrat serving in Congress.
The former Congress member hopes Louisvillians see him as someone who stood up for them.
“I would love for the people in this community to think that I was somebody who was always accessible, who never turned anybody away, who wanted to hear what people thought, and somebody who had some very distinct ideas about the direction of the country,” he said.
Yarmuth takes great pride in having his name on the American rescue plan, which passed in March of 2021.
He also said he's proud of his work to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010. After so many accomplishments, he says leaving the house he's called home for 15 years isn't easy.
“It’s incredibly hard,” Yarmuth said. “I’m really not ready to go, but I’m not prepared to stay. I will miss it terribly. I already do."
As the House Budget Committee chairman, Yarmuth made many life-long connects in Congress.
"The last couple of weeks have been incredibly emotional for me as I say goodbye to some very dear friends, who I may never see again,” He said.
With Congress now behind him, Yarmuth says he’s got several ideas on his plate for what he’ll do next.
The Louisville-native says he has projects lined up with the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville next fall.
He also said he plans to connect with a policy organization in Washington to keep his hands in federal policy.
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