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Parting senator learned lessons from time in legislature

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, did not run for re-election to the Illinois Senate. This is an excerpt from his parting letter to constituents in Metro East.
p21 McCarter    As you know, this past spring’s legislative session was my last as state senator. I am moving on to take up a new challenge, representing our country, as the next ambassador to the country of Kenya, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
    It’s been an honor and privilege to be your voice in Springfield for the past nine years. This journey began in February of 2009. I met many wonderful people, representing the old 51st Senate District and now the 54th Senate District. My travels brought me to dozens of Illinois hometowns throughout central and southern Illinois.
    There are a number of lessons learned during my time at the State Capitol:
•    While our strongly-held convictions and beliefs may differ, there is plenty of opportunity to argue for them yet maintain respect for those who hold opposite views.
•    Government is a necessary institution. It’s capable of doing great good, but it is much less capable of delivering functional families, safe neighborhoods and a peaceful and prosperous nation than what we can accomplish on our own when we meet our personal responsibilities.
•    Government’s effectiveness is equal to the compassion and servant leadership of the politicians in power and their willingness for tough, crucial conversations, and to be honest with the people.
•    Unfortunately, the tolerance of the status quo in Illinois and the United States – which is sadly characterized at times by corruption, self-service, and power seeking – is unacceptable.
•    As leaders, elected by the people to be their representatives, we must recommit ourselves to be the good stewards of the gifts God has endowed us with to help our neighbors, the poor, and our fellow citizens.
    Ultimately, the responsibility for our future resides with each of us – whether elected office holder or citizen. As it is stated in the Declaration of Independence, government gets its authority from the people: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
    It is my hope that we all gather from within ourselves the courage to stand for what is right for the people of Illinois – not just for our particular political party or any one person’s rise to power, including our own.
    I am grateful for the opportunity to represent you in Springfield. I have learned so much with your help and guidance. The experience and wisdom gained during my time as state senator prepared me for the next challenge, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, as ambassador to Kenya, continuing to serve our great country.

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