Published Online: November 19, 1997

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Farewell Remarks

Signing off on an 11-year career in the House, Rep. Floyd H. Flake, D-N.Y., said he couldn't wait to get back home, but hinted that he may return to Washington to push some of his favorite causes.

The Empire State lawmaker has been at the forefront of education debates recently because he is one of the few Democrats who support vouchers for low-income students. Mr. Flake was one of the leading backers of the HELP--or Helping Empower Low-Income Parents--Scholarship initiative, which recently failed in the House. ("Voucher Bill Fails on Bipartisan Vote in House," Nov. 12, 1997.)

In a Nov. 7 speech on the House floor, Mr. Flake told his colleagues that he was returning to his district where he will continue serving as a minister at an African Methodist Episcopalian Church back home in New York City. In his farewell remarks, he said his church now has more than 9,000 members.

The homecoming will greatly reduce the travel schedule for the retiring lawmaker, who said he has gone home to his district, which encompasses parts of Queens and Brooklyn, every night since he began his political career. Those 5 a.m. shuttles from New York to Washington are one thing he won't miss.

"At 52 years of age, looking relatively good, I want to maintain my health and continue to do the things that I think the Lord has called me to do," he said. A special election will be held early next year to fill Mr. Flake's seat.

His Next Job

Given the choice between serving in the Senate or on the U.S. Supreme Court, or a local school board, President Clinton says he'd choose the last of the three options.

Television newsman Tim Russert, in an interview taped Nov. 8 for the NBC program "Meet the Press," asked Mr. Clinton directly whether he would run for office again.

"I might run for the school board someday," the president responded, reiterating comments he made last year shortly before his re-election and again in a Nov. 3 stump speech for the unsuccessful Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Donald S. Beyer Jr.

Mr. Clinton hasn't said where he might toil over school policy when his second term expires in 2001. But it's clear that he prefers any school board to a national office. When Mr. Russert asked about a campaign for the Senate or a nomination to the Supreme Court, Mr. Clinton said: "I don't think so."

--JOETTA L. SACK & DAVID J. HOFF

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