Congressman Faleomavaega, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, issued the following statement about Congressman Gary Ackerman’s decision not to seek reelection this year.
“For some 24 years, Congressman Gary Ackerman and I have served together on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and I can personally attest that he will be missed by the Committee as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.”
“Congressman Ackerman has served his district with distinction and honor and he has been a true friend to the people of the Asia Pacific. I deeply appreciate his friendship and the strong support he has shown on issues affecting the Asian and Pacific Islander communities at home and abroad. Specifically, Congressman Ackerman has stood with the API communities in pressuring our own government to make right the mess we left behind in Vietnam after we sprayed more than 11 million gallons of Agent Orange, subjecting millions of innocent civilians to dioxin – a toxic known to be one of the deadliest chemicals made by man.”
“Congressman Ackerman has also fought for funding to clean up the stockpiles of unexploded ordinance (UXO) we left behind in Laos, and for making right the damage the U.S. did in exploding some 67 nuclear bombs in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific. It is estimated that the yield of those bombs is equal to some 7,000 Hiroshima explosions. To this day, the people of the Marshall Islands still suffer as a result of the U.S. nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands, and I thank Congressman Ackerman for championing our cause to set this matter right.”
“Congressman Ackerman also has made his mark around the world championing issues of human rights.
He has served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and also as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He has been a true friend to Israel and India, as well as many other nations around the world. He will be missed by all those he has served. I will certainly miss his friendship and keen perspective on many foreign policy issues we confront on the Foreign Affairs Committee. His retirement is our loss, but I wish him and his family the very best, and I thank him for 24 years of friendship and support,” Faleomavaega concluded.