Three days after suffering a mild stroke — and one day after leaving the hospital — Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, 69, was back on the U.S. House floor giving a speech on Thursday morning.
“He had to take a walker to get to the floor,” said his chief of staff, Adam Stewart. The folded walker was visible next to the podium on television as Bishop spoke — but he showed no other signs of the stroke as he spoke in his usual cadence and style.
What was so important?
Bishop “wanted to pay tribute to Lisa Pittman, our chief counsel on the House Natural Resources Committee,” who is retiring after 38 years of service, Stewart said. Bishop is the ranking Republican and former chairman of that committee.
Showing how much Pittman means to him and other Republicans, the stroke-stricken congressman made the trek back to work and down to the House floor.
Bishop started by saying he had called Pittman on Wednesday to make sure someone was covering House debate for Republicans on the committee.
“She chastised me then saying under my conditions, I need to call a doctor first, not a lawyer,” he said. “No, Lisa, we call you not just for legal advice, but for all sorts of things.”
He praised her style and service, for everything from legal work to acting as a sort of mom for committee members by bringing cupcakes on their birthdays.
“Her kindness is magic to the rest of us,” Bishop said. “She has served with poise, under pressure and always brings an air of stability. We ask opinions of a lot of people, but we always double check by going to Lisa because she understands it all.”
Bishop said working in the Congress never grew old for Pittman.
“Even yesterday, she still told my chief of staff that she gets choked up when she looks at the Capitol dome or hears the Pledge of Allegiance. It is still magic to her.”
Like Pittman, Bishop also is retiring. The congressman is ending an 18 year career in the House.
“When I leave at the end of the month, no one is really going to care,” Bishop said. “When Lisa leaves at the end of the month, it’s going to take decades to replace the institutional knowledge she brings at this place. Lisa, we thank you.”