One of the top Republican members of Congress announced that he will step down from his position at the end of his term.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary committee, announced Thursday that he plans to retire from Congress at the end of his term, according to Fox News.
Making his announcement in a letter posted to his congressional website, Rep. Goodlatte, 65, said that his decision was influenced partially out of a desire to spend time with his family, and also because his term as chairman was coming to an end.
Rep. Goodlatte tweeted that “It’s been an honor to serve #VA06 – thank you for your support and trust. It’s time to step aside. I’ve decided I will not seek re-election.” The Republican official was first elected to Congress in 1992. His retirement brings an end to a 25-year political career.
“With my time as chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters,” he said.
Nor is Rep. Goodlatte the only Republican official to have recently announced his retirement. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), are just some of the other elected Republicans having declared their intentions to step away from political office for one reason or another.
The announcement came two days after Democrats made significant gains in the Virginia State Legislature as well as winning most of the state’s top offices.
“Bob Goodlatte has been an integral member of Congress since he was first elected,” National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), said. “From his Chairmanship of the House Committee on the Judiciary, to his work on Agriculture, he has been a dedicated representative to Virginia’s 6th District and to the rest of the country.”
Goodlatte’s western Virginia district is expected to remain solidly with the GOP in future elections, and was an area that President Trump won by nearly 25 points in the 2016 election.
Earlier this week, Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX), and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), similarly announced their retirements, although their respective districts remain potentially up for grabs.
As reported by The Hill, some of these retirements stem from feelings of uncertainty raised by the Trump administration, as many are now wondering whether the GOP will be able to hold the House in light of recent struggles to pass key legislation. Many officials are choosing to step down, taking a convenient and personally opportune way out rather than face uphill reelection campaigns in 2018.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who decided to retire, said that congressional gridlock was one of the driving reasons for his decision to vacate his seat. Although he first considered stepping down during the 2013 government shutdown, he decided that the current political climate has become far too polarized to continue.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), is retiring from Congress. Should more congressmen retire to make room for people that want to make America great again?
“I’m frustrated by the polarization. Every basic task of governing becomes awfully difficult around here. Just keeping the government open or not defaulting,” Dent told reporters. “All these types of issues just become much heavier lifts. And because we can’t do basics, we can’t get those down, it makes it difficult to take on the big issues of tax reform, infrastructure, health care,” the Congressman added with a sigh.
Regardless of the reasoning, the current political climate in Washington, DC is changing. Old faces from both sides of the aisle are stepping down – leaving opportunities for both parties to capitalize on.