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Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Ranking Member Mike Conaway Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Public Hearing: “The State of the CFTC”

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your indulgence to say a few words about the distinguished chairman of the CFTC.

Chris, thank you. 

Thank you for your service; Thank you for your diligence, thoughtfulness and candor; Thank you for your relentless curiosity; And, most of all, thank you for your bottomless reservoir of optimism.

Everyone up on this dais knows how hard it can be to hold a position of public trust, but you have never once shown that burden. Rather, I’ve seen a man engrossed in understanding the burden of others and consumed with understanding how his work might ease their difficulties.

I saw it first hand, when you came to San Angelo. Your speech lit up a room of oilmen by connecting challenges found in the oil fields of Texas to financial markets in New York and around the world. Then then you graciously talked to every person and shook every hand in the hour it took you to depart.

I also saw it in the letter you wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. It’s strange to think of a letter about derivatives as moving, but your careful explanation of why derivatives are important for the most vulnerable among us was a moving reminder about why these markets matter and why this committee should be diligent in its work in this area.

I also want to say thank you to your family – your wife Regina and your children: Henry, Luke, and Emma – and recognize their role in your success. For the last five years, they’ve had to patiently share your time and attention with strangers. No doubt they are looking forward to having your undivided attention once again.

You closed your written testimony by noting that you tried to do what your parents taught you – to leave the places you visit better than you found them. So, let me close by saying that you learned well. The CFTC is a better place because of your tenure. 

I suspect that this committee is also a better place because of your service. You worked hard to break down ideological divisions and present positions supported by evidence and experience that were not rooted in the pitched battles of the past. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with you and learn from you these past five years. 

As you return to New Jersey, I don’t suspect that you’ll be retiring in any traditional sense. I have no doubt that you will continue to put your intellect, passion, and values to the work on behalf of the public. As you pick that next path, I wish you well earned happiness and success. 

Before I yield back, I too want to add my condolences on the passing of Commissioner Bart Chilton. I didn’t know Commissioner Chilton as well as some of you in this audience, but I knew him well enough to know that he also cared deeply about his work. In a career that ran from Capitol Hill to the Whitten Building to the CFTC to his farm in Arkansas, his unwavering focus was on how the government can protect the vulnerable. I appreciated the opportunities I had to work with him and know that he will be missed. His family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers in the difficult days ahead.

With that Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

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