Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the powerful House Transportation Committee, will retire at the end of his term.
“It’s time for me to pass the baton to the next generation so I can focus on my health and well-being,” DeFazio said in a statement on Wednesday. “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."
The 36-year congressman adds to a mass exodus of House Democrats retiring or seeking other office rather than running for reelection in 2022, an election cycle that analysts believe will benefit Republicans. DeFazio is the 11th House Democrat to announce a retirement without seeking other office.
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DeFazio, 74, has represented Oregon’s southwestern 4th district since 1987. As chairman of the House Transportation Committee, he has a critical role in passing the $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Democrats’ go-it-alone budget reconciliation social spending bill. He is also a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, now chaired by Washington Rep. Pramilla Jayapal.
“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,” DeFazio said.
He leaves behind a district that Republicans are targeting to flip in 2022. In 2020, DeFazio won the seat by 5.3%.
Along with DeFazio, other longtime House Democrats who have announced retirements include Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle, 68, and North Carolina Rep. David Price, 81.
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“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,” DeFazio said. “Thank you for putting your trust in me.”