Key Democrat will not seek re-election

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) announced that he will not seek re-election in 2022. DeFazio, Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Observers see the decision as evidence that senior members of the Democratic Party expect next year’s midterm election to drive them out of the majority but DeFazio is actually the 36th member of Congress to announce hey will not seek re-election.

Six members of the U.S. Senate and 30 members of the U.S. House have said they will not be returning to their posts.

Twenty-one members—six senators and 15 representatives—have announced their retirement. Five retiring Senate members are Republicans and one is a Democrat, and among the retiring House members, 11 are Democrats and four are Republicans.

In the 2020 congressional elections, four U.S. senators and 36 U.S. representatives did not run for re-election.

Of those 40 open seats, five changed party hands in the 2020 elections, with Democrats picking up three U.S. House seats and Republicans picking up two U.S. House seats.

DeFazio turned back the toughest challenge in his 34-year U.S. House career in 2020, when he defeated Republican Alek Skarlatos, who gained fame in 2015 when he helped foil an attempted terrorist attack on a French high-speed train.

Skarlatos received a medal from President Barack Obama and later starred as himself in a movie based on the incident.

His 36 years in the House of Representatives make DeFazio the longest-serving House Member from Oregon and the 65th-longest-serving member of the House in U.S. history.

DeFazio, known as a passionate progressive populist and effective legislator, has amassed major accomplishments in a broad range of areas with colleagues from across the aisle, including aviation safety, infrastructure investment and job creation, preservation of public lands and resources, fair trade and labor protections, organic farming, and climate change.

DeFazio is most well-known at home for his effective constituent services program, helping deliver hard-earned benefits to Oregonians.

“With humility and gratitude, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election next year. It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as Congressman for the Fourth District of Oregon,” said DeFazio. “For 36 years I have fought corporate greed and special interests to benefit Oregon’s working families—from delivering affordable health care under the Affordable Care Act, to preventing the privatization and destruction of the Social Security safety net, to protecting our natural treasures for future generations, to fighting trade policies that undermine American workers, to holding industry and regulators accountable to improve aviation safety, to asserting congressional war powers authority to stop endless wars, to making historic job-creating investments in our roads, bridges, ports and more under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

“It’s time for me to pass the baton to the next generation so I can focus on my health and well-being,” said DeFazio. “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.”

“I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my incredibly talented and dedicated staff who have worked tirelessly on behalf of Oregonians and all Americans,” said DeFazio. “I especially want to thank my wife Myrnie Daut, whose strength, encouragement and counsel has made my career possible.”

“I still have a lot of work to do in my remaining 13 months and I’ll be putting all of my efforts into that work, including helping to pass the Build Back Better Act that will bring down costs for families, create jobs, fight the climate crisis and help Americans get ahead,” said DeFazio.

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