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Summary of St. Fleur's farewell speech to House of Representatives

From the State House News Service comes a summary of the remarks former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur made Tuesday to her former colleagues on the House floor.

St. Fleur this week started a job in the Menino administration as its chief of advocacy and strategic investment. She served in the Fifth Suffolk District seat for just over a decade, winning a special election in 1999.

Marie St FleurMarie St FleurAgain, the following is a summary of her remarks and not verbatim transcript.

St. Fleur said, It has been a great honor to serve in this great and General Court. I'm deeply appreciative of the quality of work we've engaged in for the people of the commonwealth and the people of the Fifth Suffolk district. I leave with appreciate for the people of my district. Regardless of the position I've been privileged to hold in this House, I am so grateful for the opportunities it has provided for me. The neighborhoods I grew up in allowed me the fortitude to tackle the issues we've faced including early education and care and gay marriage. Your support allowed me the freedom to do what you hired me to do, listen to all, research the issues and increase the quality of life for people in the Fifth Suffolk. Through so many ups and downs, I thank you for your confidence and trust. TO the members of the Haitian community, I thank you for your boundless support. We found ourselves in an unanticipated adventure, electing the first Haitian American to office. It has helped me grasp in a real way where a great deal of my grit comes from. It has helped me have a greater appreciation for the generations of Africans on whose shoulders I proudly stand. There are now half a dozen elected Haitian officials. I know the gentlelady from Dorchester will keep the plight of earthquake victims at the forefront. To all the supportive personnel, our clerk, committee staff, court offices, the rangers, my favorite people in the world are in this building. They, over the past decade, have made my ability to serve manageable and achievable. There is not a day that not one of you have not given me a reason to smile or appreciate the gift of service. Finally, to my colleagues. I was raised with the understanding that family extends beyond bloodlines. All of you on both sides of this aisle have played a role in the person I am today. Many of you will remain dear friends and family. You know who you are. You helped me bury my father. You helped me bury people I love. You helped me walk into this chamber in some of the most difficult moments in my life. In one form or another, we have shared so many of these experiences in one form or another. It is through our love and respect for the work that we've created so many bonds. I joined this House with three children under the age of eight. Today, two are in college.

St. Fleur welcomed her daughter Nicole and her son Justin. Members stood and applauded.

St. Fleur said her daughter Brianne was unable to attend.

St. Fleur said, I've been extremely lucky to have so many of you in our lives. My mother is with me. She's wearing bright red because she wore it the day I was elected and she was happy. She's wearing it today because she's very happy. It is true, that it takes a village to raise a child. You've been part of the village that helped me raise three. My children are my pride and joy and you've allowed me the space to be present even in those difficult moments. My faith is at the core of who I am. [Singing] I've had some good days. I've had some hills to climb. I have had some weary days and some sleepless nights. But when I look around and I think things over, all of my good days outweigh my bad days. Thank you.

Members stood, cheered and applauded.

St. Fleur said, I need you all to understand from the bottom of my heart. This profession is a noble calling. It requires that you be put in the front line for preserving our peaceful democracy. I ask you to take it from a kid born under a dictatorship, who learned that lives are needlessly destroyed by unbridled power. Nothing worth defending comes easy. It is easier to destroy than to build. The rights and responsibilities enshrined in your positions are worth defending. You will be talked about. You will be misunderstood and sometimes misquoted. Never forget, you are the great and General Court. All may have an opinion, this is the front line to our democracy. If you don't believe it, take a trip with me to Haiti. Thank you for taking it on the chin for those of us who have decided to hide in the shadows. Merci.

Members stood and applauded.