Less than a year into his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Buddy Carter was witness to two historic moments just last week.
Carter, the Pooler Republican and 1st District representative, was in the House chambers Thursday to hear Pope Francis I address a joint meeting of Congress. The pontiff was the first pope to speak to Congress.
“I can tell you it was really emotional,” Carter said Satruday. “He is such a great man and brought such a great message of encouragement and a message of hope and responsibility. It was an honor to be there in his presence.”
Friday morning, Carter and 245 other Republicans listened as Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he was leaving his leadership post and resigning his seat in the House, effective Oct. 30. Boehner has been speaker of the House since 2011.
Boehner, who is Catholic, is said to have cited the pope’s speech the day before as instrumental in his decision. He also has been at odds frequently with members of the Republican conference more closely aligned with the Tea Party movement.
“We were all surprised,” said Carter, who has served as speaker pro tem on occasion. ”The speaker has carried us through a tumultuous time in our conference. We appreciate him very much. I have not always agreed with the speaker, but I have never questioned his commitment to our conference, our Congress and our country. John Boehner is a good man.”
The 65-year-old Boehner has served Ohio’s 8th District since 2001. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is considered to be the front-runner to replace Boehner, and U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) is running to be majority leader.
“It’s been tough,” Carter said. “He has taken the blame for many things that he didn’t necessarily have control over. Public service is not always easy. In fact, it’s very tough. Anyone who is willing to put themselves out for public service I am very respectful of.”
Carter said Effingham Chamber Executive Director Rick Lott asked him to come to Effingham Oktoberfest on Saturday, and that there was a bull-riding machine, if he so chose to try it out.
“Rick, I have been riding bulls all week,” Carter replied.