HH: June 27th, 2013, Congressman John Campbell is in studio with me at 34 minutes after the hour live. He’s back on the West Coast, and about to make a little bit of news, Congressman Campbell. Tell people what you told me.
JC: Okay, let me, wait a minute, is my microphone…there we are, hearing the feedback. You know, Hugh, eight years ago almost to the day, I’m not sure exactly what day it was, but it was in June, eight years ago in 2005, I sat at this microphone with you and announced that I was going to run for Congress for the 48th, which I’d originally said I wasn’t going to do, and said on this show about a week before, and then you and others changed my mind and I ran, and am now in my fifth term in Congress. Well today, I’m reversing the bus a little bit. And today, I’m announcing that I will not seek reelection for a sixth term in 2014, and that in fact, I’m going to retire from Congress at the end of this term in another 18 months.
HH: Now when you told me this a couple of days ago, I was absolutely shocked, because you’re the chairman of a powerful subcommittee on a very powerful committee, you are 58 years old, you are in good health, but you have great reasons, and they are reasons that go to living a genuinely significant, happy and good life. Would you explain those to people?
JC: Okay, and yeah, you know, you could say that I haven’t peaked in Congress, and I probably haven’t. I think I’m fairly well-regarded on both sides of the aisle and so forth there, and that you know, many people leave after they’ve hit the crest and now they’re coming down, or they’ve been a chairman and now they’re not anymore or whatever. But you know, it’s never been about the power, the influence or the position for me. It’s been about serving, and it’s been about using the experience that I have, and whatever talents God gave me, to make a positive contribution. And I’ve been in full-time elected office, or I will have been by the end of this term, 14 years, including my time in the state legislature in California, which is full time as well. And I’m not a career politician. I’ve never intended to be a career politician, and so this was always something I intended to do for a while. And 14 years, first of all, and by the way, I’ve had three different offices representing four different districts, and won 16 straight elections over that 14 year career, but…primary and general elections. But it’s just time…
HH: Undefeated, untied as we say in the business.
JC: There we go. Just, it’s kind of like a USC football team.
HH: No, not really, because you’re not on probation.
JC: Yeah, yeah. Oh, no. Wait, okay, anyway, you know, it’s just time for me. You know, when…I’ve got various personal issues. I’ve actually missed some time in Congress in the last month, and will probably miss a little more, because I do have some issues that might require surgeries in my knee and my hip.
HH: They’re not chronic, they’re not, when you get older…
JC: They’re not chronic, they’re not bad.
HH: You’re not dying.
JC: No, but…
HH: You’re going to be bothering me for years with USC crap. I’m not worried, I’m not weepy.
JC: No, no, there’s nothing like that, but there’s some things like that that enter in, your kids, your family, various different things. I still have a business outside of Congress and so forth. And if I’m not able and there to give absolutely everything to this job, then I should, then I need to think about other things.
HH: Now you know what my reaction was, and I’ve known this for two days, is that this is an extraordinarily healthy thing that I wish many other Beltway people will listen to, that it’s not the end of the world to give up your job in D.C. where you have power and influence to go do something significant with the rest of your life. You’ve been very successful in business. You’re very much revered in your community, you have a wonderful family. The Captivating Mrs. Campbell is great, I know your boys. Your business, whatever you choose, we’ll talk about what you’re going to do next later. But how healthy, and this is just so rare. I mean, what did the leadership say when you told them? They must be stunned.
JC: Yeah, I told them yesterday, and I think they were surprised, but they understand, and they understood I’m not a lifer. I’ve never been, and although Generalissimo Duane is always talking about my going Beltway, I can safely say I never did that, and that my life was never in Washington. My life was in California, and here and now, increasingly in Kansas. But it’s, yeah, there are a number of my colleagues who can’t imagine walking away from the title, from the prestige, from the power, from the fawning that people who are interested in your voting card, and what you might be able to do with it, that they give you. But that’s never been what it’s about for me. It’s always been about just using the talents God gave me.
HH: Public service.
JC: And this is, by the way, as a Christian that you know that I am, this is something that involved a great deal of prayer over the last few months.
HH: How absolutely corny.
End of segment.