Dec 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democratic Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio to retire from House

Photo of Peter DeFazio speaking while sitting in a chamber
Rep. Peter Defazio (D-Ore.) participates in a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee subcommittee hearing on Sept. 23. Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to the House after 36 years in Congress.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements has caused concern that the party may not be able to hold on to its slim majority in the House after the midterms.

  • DeFazio's announcement brings the total number of Democratic retirements to 16, compared to 10 Republicans.

What he's saying: "It's time for me to pass the baton to the next generation so I can focus on my health and well-being," he said in a statement.

  • "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."
  • "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," he added.

The big picture: DeFazio, who currently chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is Oregon’s longest-serving Congress member.

  • His retirement "comes on the heels of a frustrating few years, in which DeFazio’s dreams of an ambitious, environmentally focused overhaul of the nation’s highway and transit program were sidelined for a major infrastructure bill that went only as far as Republicans in the Senate would agree to go," Politico notes.

Go deeper: Democratic retirements spark worry over holding House majority

Go deeper