BREMERTON, Wash., March 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks D-Wash., a long-serving and powerful member of the House, said he's retiring after his 18th term ends this year.
"I'll be 72 at the end of this term. I didn't want to be one of those people who stayed too long. We had a good run, I've been re-elected 18 times," Dicks said Friday, adding he and his wife, Suzy, are ready to "change gears and enjoy life at a different pace," The Seattle Times reported.
Dicks was known as "Mr. Boeing" for bringing in federal defense contracts to the Boeing Co., based in Washington, most recently Boeing's $35 billion Air Force tanker contract last year.
Dicks has been in Congress 36 years, longer than any Washington representative except Warren Magnuson, who served 44 years in the Senate and the House, the newspaper said.
President Obama thanked Dicks for his service.
"Norm's dedication to our nation's intelligence personnel and his leadership on the Appropriations Committee will be missed in Congress and Michelle and I wish him and family well in the future," Obama said in a release.
The congressman's retirement is the second high-profile exodus announced this week. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said she intends to retire after this term because of the deep divisiveness she sees in Congress.
Dicks said that was not a large factor in his retirement.
The ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Dicks said he's had a good relationship with his chairman in the opposition party, Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky.
"My colleagues here have been wonderful," Dicks said. "We had a great year in appropriations."