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Florida Rep. Ted Deutch joins exodus of retiring House Democrats

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., is shown during a House committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on September 16, 2020. He became the 31st House Democrat to announce an retirement ahead of November's mid-term election. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/94eb0bd07c3c0dfb7a60e21a367fc361/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., is shown during a House committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on September 16, 2020. He became the 31st House Democrat to announce an retirement ahead of November's mid-term election. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida announced Monday he will not seek re-election after 12 years in Congress, joining a growing list of Democratic lawmakers who are retiring from their House seats.

With his announcement the day before President Joe Biden is to deliver his State of the Union Address, Deutch became the 31st House Democrat to announce retirement plans as the party fights to retain its narrow House majority in November's mid-term elections.

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In a posted statement, Deutch cited his work protecting Social Security and vulnerable seniors, combatting climate change, fighting terrorism and "rogue regimes like Iran" as among his proudest accomplishments during his seven terms in office.

"Public service was instilled in me by my father who earned a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge, and it has been a tremendous privilege to serve the people of Palm Beach and Broward Counties in Congress since 2010," he wrote. "I am incredibly grateful to my constituents for their support and friendship."

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His district includes Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed and 17 injured in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In making his retirement announcement, Deutsch also mentioned his strong advocacy for stronger gun control measures.

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"Our community was profoundly changed on February 14, 2018," he said, adding he has "tried every day since to be there for their families and to help them honor the memories of their loved ones in all the ways they are working to make our schools and community safer."

The lawmaker has called on Biden to use the State of the Union address to advocate for more gun safety measures, including "non-controversial" items such as "universal background checks, safe storage requirements, banning ghost guns and tougher gun trafficking laws."

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