This Monday is President's Day, a holiday created to celebrate George Washington's birthday. While many enjoy President's Day as a much needed three-day weekend, it is also a time to honor and reflect on some of the profound thinkers and doers who have made our nation great.
As I travel through the district, I am always struck by how many people ask me who my favorite President is. It is a question I hear from children, teenagers, and adults alike, and even more often now as we are in a Presidential election year.
My favorite President has always been John Quincy Adams. Not just the son of our Nation's second President, he was an accomplished President and Representative in his own right. He was a true statesman whose career and dedication to this country spanned his entire life. In fact, many consider John Quincy Adams to be one of our country's greatest - if not the greatest - statesman.
While Secretary of State for President Monroe, he established our northern border with Canada, negotiated the annexation of Florida, and drafted the Monroe Doctrine. As President, he supported infrastructure improvements and a national university. He pushed for federal support for the arts and sciences, and despite dealing with a Congress vehemently opposed to him, he significantly decreased the country's national debt.
After the Presidency, he was elected to be a US Representative from Massachusetts, where he served for seventeen years until his death. His time in the House is legendary, and he often received more recognition for his work there than in the White House. Two of his more notable achievements were his leadership of the abolition movement in the House, and his work and support in the creation of the Smithsonian Institution - one of our country's greatest national treasures.
If I had to isolate one key fact about John Quincy Adams that makes him my favorite President, it is his time in the House. His devotion to this country was so great that after being President he decided to go to the House of Representatives so that he could still serve.
John Quincy Adams put his country first and fought for equality for all citizens. He believed - as I and so many others - that our federal government should improve the life of our citizens. He was a beacon of positivity in this country.
It's time that many of our elected officials follow his lead.