After 32 years in Washington, Congressman Lamar Smith is in the home stretch, and he's opening up about what is really the mood in the nation’s capital, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Smith (R-San Antonio) fights back against the idea that the current congress is the most divided in recent history.
"No, it's not the most partisan it's ever been. It's partisan before. It was partisan when Nancy Pelosi was speaker. It was partisan when Tom DeLay was in the republican leadership. It's been partisan the whole time."
Smith is retiring after serving under six presidents. He's been in both the majority and minority.
"The partisanship has remained pretty constant and it's somewhat regrettable," he says. "I think a lot more could be accomplished if it was less partisan."
This week Smith was honored by the Texas Legislative Conference as their Texan of the Year.
He gave two reasons for retiring. One is the term limits that would end his chairmanship of the Science Space and Technology committee. The other is his family, which are all in the San Antonio area for the first time in a long time, he says.
Past winners include George Strait and former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, who was Smith's campaign manager when he first ran for Congress.
Smith says what is not reported by cable news is the bipartisan friendships that are rampant through Congress. He points to the bills that came out of his committee.
"We have taken 40 bills to the house floor that have passed. Thirty-six of the 40 have been bi-partisan bills."