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A Crusader for Limited Government to the End

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

When most people leave Congress, especially after relatively long careers, they like to tout their legislative accomplishments to burnish their legacies. But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is not your typical lawmaker, and as he gets set to retire from the Senate due to health issues, he's singing a different tune.

In a video message to his Oklahoma consituents announcing his retirement, Coburn focuses not on laws he helped pass -- even those that limited federal power and aimed to cut waste -- but on the measures he failed to prevent from becoming law.

"I have made a decision that I will return to Oklahoma as a private citizen, to live under the laws that I helped to write, and unfortunately under many laws which I hoped to have stopped, but couldn't," Coburn says in the video.

"Everyone wants Washington to change," Coburn adds, "and that means changing everyone in Washington." Including himself, apparently.

See Coburn's full message below.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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