Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to Chicago to witness President Obama’s farewell address to the American people. It was a powerful moment – one that reminded me yet again of the hope and the can-do attitude of the young Senator from the south side of Chicago that energized and inspired a Nation.
It was a moment that sparked reflection about the journey of the last eight years and deepened my gratitude for the opportunity to serve a President who has led our country with intelligence, decency, and a tireless commitment to making our Nation a more perfect union -- for all Americans.
As I reflect on my time at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and previously at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), I am reminded that over the course of this journey, there were victories and setbacks. But, as the President said last week, “the work of democracy has always been hard.” And, looking back to where we started from where we are now, I’m incredibly proud of our progress.
In more than two years at OMB, I have been privileged to lead an institution that shapes so many issues that touch the lives of millions of Americans every day. We worked with Congress to pass economic and budget proposals that created jobs and opportunity and protected our national security. We built a Federal Government that more effectively delivers the services that Americans rely on. We put in place regulations that keep Americans healthy and safe while promoting economic growth and innovation.
During my time at HUD, we didn’t just bring the housing market back from its worst crisis since the Great Depression, we made it stronger and more equitable. We rebuilt communities devastated by natural disasters so they were stronger and more resilient. We partnered with cities and states to cut veterans homelessness, and gave new hope and opportunity to residents of public housing and struggling communities.
All of this was possible thanks to the dedication of Federal employees whose talent, expertise, and commitment to public service keep me inspired. I have been fortunate to gain their friendship and partnership. I am proud of what we have accomplished together. And I am grateful for their continued service to our great country.
As my time as OMB Director draws to a close this week, I share the President’s optimism about the future:
“And that’s why I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than when we started. Because I know our work has not only helped so many Americans, it has inspired so many Americans -- especially so many young people out there -- to believe that you can make a difference -- to hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves.”President Barack Obama, January 10, 2017
Thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself, to serve the American people, and to be a part of this historic presidency. It has been the greatest honor of my lifetime.