I am very pleased with Speaker-designate Pelosi's decision to appoint Rep. Silvestre Reyes, my good friend and long-time colleague on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Silvestre Reyes is a great man and will be a tremendous chairman. His patriotism, strong leadership, keen intellect and amiable character will suit him well in his new position. The intelligence community, Congress and the American public will certainly benefit from his leadership on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman Reyes served his country in Vietnam and has always been a strong advocate for servicemembers, veterans and military families. He has been a valuable member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. He has been in the forefront of the battle to help veterans eligible for both VA disability benefits and military retirement who are currently being taxed on those benefits. He has been a champion for full funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system to ensure veterans have timely access to high quality care. He is an outspoken advocate for aging veterans, having secured the development of a much-needed Veterans State Nursing Home in El Paso. His annual veterans' town hall meetings and Veterans Citizen Advisory Committee help ensure that policy makers understand and hear the needs of veterans and their families in his district. Congressman Reyes has a profound understanding of the needs and concerns of men and women in uniform, veterans and their families. I believe that is a key prerequisite to the important post he now assumes.

I have always called "Silver" a friend, now I will be proud to call him "Mr. Chairman."