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Congressman DeFazio will not seek re-election

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SALEM, Ore. – Longtime Congressman Peter DeFazio will not be seeking re-election next year, the lawmaker announced Wednesday.

The democrat has represented Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District for more than three decades. He is the longest-serving House of Representatives member from Oregon. In 2020, he staved off a challenge from up-and-coming Republican Alek Skarlatos, securing his 18th term in Congress.

RELATED: DEFAZIO WINS 18TH TERM, SKARLATOS CONCEDES

In a statement, DeFazio said it is “with humility and gratitude” that he is announcing he will step down.

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as Congressman for the Fourth District of Oregon. For 36 years I have fought corporate greed and special interests to benefit Oregon’s working families,” DeFazio wrote.

He outlined his work fighting for affordable health care, better infrastructure and more.

“It’s time for me to pass the baton to the next generation so I can focus on my health and well-being. This was a tough decision at a challenging time for our republic with the very pillars of our democracy under threat, but I am bolstered by the passion and principles of my colleagues in Congress and the ingenuity and determination of young Americans who are civically engaged and working for change,” he added.

DeFazio thanked his staff and his wife Myrnie Daut for making his career possible. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi also thanked DeFazio's wife.

"On behalf of the House, I thank his wife Myrnie for sharing him with the Congress and Country and wish them both the best in their next chapter together," she wrote in a statement.

Pelosi highlighted DeFazio's accomplishments while in the US House of Representatives.

“Chairman DeFazio is known and respected by all as a champion of sustainable, smart and green infrastructure, whose progressive values, passion and persistence have helped rebuild America and the middle class," Pelosi wrote. "His legislative successes – including expanding preservation and conservation efforts, protecting affordable health care, advancing tribal sovereignty, rebuilding our highways, ensuring aviation safety and, most recently, helping pass the historic, once-in-a-century Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Build Back Better Act – leave an outstanding legacy of progress for America’s children and future."

Moving forward, DeFazio said he will be spending the next 13 months helping pass the Build Back Better Act, fighting the climate crisis and more.

DeFazio's district will soon be seeing changes from the recent redistricting process which created six new Oregon districts after the state saw population gains in the 2020 Census. The new maps cede the rest of Josephine County and parts of Douglas County to Congressman Cliff Bentz's second district — still covering Curry, Coos, northern Douglas, Lane, Benton, and Lincoln counties.

MORE: REDISTRICTING PLANS PASS IN OREGON LEGISLATURE

Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who represents Oregon's Third District, issued the following statement about DeFazio's retirement:

“As Peter DeFazio announces his retirement after 36 years in Congress, he has earned the reputation as the most knowledgeable and influential member of either chamber and of either party when it comes to transportation and infrastructure.

“Peter may not be the tallest member of the Oregon delegation, but he is a legislative giant in the mold of his hero, Wayne Morse.

“I’ve been honored to work with Peter for my entire career in Congress and before that when we were both local government officials in Oregon. Peter is tireless, extraordinarily bright, principled, and amazingly effective. Nobody has his tenacity and commitment to rebuilding and renewing America.

“He leaves an astounding legacy in everything that touches transportation and infrastructure: water, transit, highways, rail, and as the only certified bike mechanic ever elected to Congress is a champion of cycling and so much more.

“While I am sad that Peter will be leaving Congress, he’s earned the right to have a little more rational lifestyle with the worst commute of anybody in the Oregon delegation.

“Mercifully we have him for another year as we work through the reconciliation process, as we implement the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and we have an opportunity to work with the administration to refine many of the pieces that are in the pipeline that will transform our country.

“He’s carved out an unprecedented record and Oregon and our whole country is better for his service. I am proud to have served with him and wish Peter every success in the next phase of his career.”

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