This proved to me that when Congress acts responsibly, it can build a better America.
That is why, when I was blessed with the opportunity to lead the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, I dedicated myself to helping our servicemembers and veterans and their families, and worked with my colleagues to expand VA services and pass a new 21st Century G.I. Bill.
So I want to take this moment to urge all of my colleagues, and all of the incoming Senators and Representatives: do everything you can for our veterans and their families, because we asked them to sacrifice so much for us.
They put their lives on the line while their wives and husbands watched over their families. Caring for them is one of our most sacred obligations as a nation.
And not everyone on the front lines making our nation stronger wears a uniform.
In many critical fields, the federal government struggles to compete with the private sector to recruit and retain the skilled people our nation needs: experts in cybersecurity and intelligence analysis, doctors and nurses to care for our wounded warriors, accountants to protect taxpayers during billion dollar defense acquisitions. These are just a few examples.
After I leave the Senate, it is my hope that other Members will continue to focus on making the federal government an employer of choice. We need the best and brightest working for our nation.
The work of the United States Congress will never end. But careers come to a close. Like the great men whose names are etched here in this desk, I am humbled to know I have left my mark on this institution.
I am proud to be the first Native Hawaiian ever to serve in the Senate, just as I am so proud to be one of the three U.S. Army World War II veterans who remain in the Senate today.
The United States is a great country. One of the things that makes us so great is that, though we have made mistakes, we change, we correct them, we right past wrongs.