PALMDALE — It was a night of stories and many thanks Friday at the Embassy Suites as the Antelope Valley Board of Trade conducted a celebration of former Rep. Steve Knight for more than three decades of service and leadership to the residents of the Antelope Valley.
“I’m not dead yet,” Knight said in his opening remarks, which seemed to be a running joke for the evening. Many in the crowd of local leaders and city officials applauded and laughed at Knight’s modest take on his work in Congress over the years. “The community is why I was successful.”
As a U.S. Army veteran, 18 year veteran with the Los Angeles Police Department and leader on the local, statewide and national level, Knight served in the U.S. House of Representatives for four years. Some of the accomplishments he outlined were constructing a new control tower at Plant 42, working with local veterans, funding the F-18 landing at NASA, and his case work with the military academy.
“I didn’t do it alone,” Knight said. “My staff was off the charts.”
One staff member, Isaac Barcelona, Congressional District Liaison Officer, was directly responsible for the military academy appointments by helping select and put forth congressional nominations of between 15 to 20 applicants each year. Another issue he oversaw was immigration.
“It was an amazing journey,” Barcelona said, “This work will forever impact the nation.”
The event was organized by intermittent mingling with appetizers and wine along with formal thanks from local representatives throughout the Valley.
First to speak was state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, whose district includes much of the Antelope Valley “You were the right guy at the right time and really delivered for our district,” he said.
Next to present was Charles F. Bostwick and Donna Termeer on behalf of Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “Steve is the epitome of selfless servant leadership,” Termeer said.
The city of Palmdale said a few words of thanks to Knight as well. “This is not the end; it’s the beginning,” Mayor Pro Tem Austin Bishop said.
Mayor Steve Hofbauer reflected on his time working with Knight on the Palmdale City Council and emphasized the importance of his work as Congressman in the new airport opening soon and success at Edwards Air Force Base and Plant 42.
“I got to call you my Assemblyman, my Senator, my Congressman, but most importantly my friend,” Hofbauer said.
Others who wished Knight well included the mayor of Simi Valley, Edwards Air Force Base, NASA Armstrong Research Center, Palmdale Chamber of Commerce, Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, Quartz Hill Chamber of Commerce and Antelope Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Knight doesn’t put his status above anything; he’s a really down to earth guy and his compassion is overwhelming,” said Sylvia Duarte, incoming president for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is thankful for all he has done for the chamber and for the forever friendship with him and his wife Lily that will go beyond just being a Congressman.
Don Hoperich, of the Chamber of Commerce of the Greater Antelope Valley said: “We’re all sad to see him go. He was a good asset and a steady contributor to the Valley.”
Coffee for Vets, organized by Juan Blanco, also thanked Knight for his heart for the veterans. Blanco described Knight as a genuine class-act that really used his ability in Washington to represent his fellow brothers and sisters.
“Steve has always been there for the community and for the schools,” veteran and Lancaster School District Board of Trustee Duane Winn said.
“Steve took an oath while in LAPD to protect and to serve and has done so tremendously with the Antelope Valley,” veteran Dennis Anderson said.
As for Knight, he intends to keep busy by going back to work and staying involved with the community, specifically veterans and aerospace.
“I would have liked my term to be longer, but everything comes to an end,” Knight said. “I thank the community and all my friends who have helped along the way.”
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