House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said he's step away from Congress to focus on his well-being. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Rep. Peter DeFazio announced Wednesday he's not seeking re-election next year after 18 terms representing Oregon in the House.
The Democrat said it's time to pass the seat on so he can take time to focus on his "health and well-being." He has served in the House for 36 years, making him the 65ht-longest serving member of the chamber in U.S. history.
"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," DeFazio said in a statement.
DeFazio, who was first elected in 1986, is chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and belongs to more than a dozen caucuses, including the Medicare for All Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the U.S. Congressional International Conservation Caucus. He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1995.
He's one of 19 House Democrats who have announced plans to not seek re-election in 2022.
"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.
DeFazio represents Oregon's 4th congressional district, which includes Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane and Benton counties, and parts of Linn and Josephine counties. DeFazio received 51.5% of votes during the 2020 election against Republican Alek Skarlatos, who received 46.2%.
In the 2020 presidential election, the district voted 50.7% in favor of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, while 46.7% voted for incumbent President Donald Trump.