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Bonner's final words to the House: Laugh a little

"I said, 'You know, we have a real problem with incest in south Alabama,'" Bonner said to roars of laughter from other members. "I said, 'In fact, I would venture a guess that we have more problems with incest in my district in Alabama than in any other congressional district in America.'"

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Bonner recounted how Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) was signaling him to stop talking by waving his arms. "I thought he was saying, 'Preach on, brother, preach on!'"

Bonner then turned more serious by saying members of the House should laugh together — and work together — more often.

"A little laughter from time to time is good medicine, as the doctor says," he said. "Perhaps our country needs to laugh a little more often as well and stop yelling at each other, and working closer together."

He also had high praise for his soon-to-be former colleagues in the House.

"And by and large, and with rare exception, these are men and women of courage, of integrity, of decency," he said.

"Make no mistake: Sam Johnson loved America when he was being brutally beaten and held against his will as a prisoner of war for over seven years in Vietnam, often wondering whether he would ever see his family again," he said. "And John Lewis loved his country when he was beaten and bloodied, fighting for the civil rights of all Americans, as he was crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the city I was born in, Selma.

"And just like Sam and John, every other member here — Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative — we all work for the American people, with the singular goal of making our country a better, more perfect union, even though sometimes as humans we sometimes fail to meet your expectations."