Powerful House Democrat ‘Sends a Shockwave’ Through Political Scene by Announcing Retirement

Powerful House Democrat ‘Sends a Shockwave’ Through Political Scene by Announcing Retirement

A six-term Democratic representative from New Hampshire will not seek re-election this year, according to a local television station.

Rep. Annie Kuster told WMUR-TV in Manchester that she would finish out her term, retiring from the House when the 119th Congress is sworn in next January.

“The congresswoman’s announcement sends a shockwave through New Hampshire politics, creating an open race for the 2nd Congressional District seat she has held since 2013,” the outlet reported.

“NH-02 covers a wide and diverse swath of the state from Nashua to the Canadian border, and it’s possible several Democrats will step forward to run,” it explained.

Kuster, 67, has led the New Democrat Coalition, a group the outlet described as “centrist” and “pro-business” — words that haven’t been used much in recent years in connection with any politician with a “D” after his or her name.

Her leadership of that group will continue, Kuster told WMUR, though it wasn’t clear whether she meant that she’d lead it for the remainder of her term or in some way thereafter.

The former might have been implied by Kuster’s statement that she wanted a life with her family, apart from politics.

“I spent a lot of time with my family this winter, and we did a lot of skiing and traveling, and I’ve realized I have a life, and my husband Brad has been very patient,” she told WMUR.

“I want to spend time with my sons as they’re heading into their married lives — and hopefully grandchildren on the way one day,” she added.

On the other hand, she also sounded like she was interested in supporting other Democratic politicians, even if she would no longer be one herself.

“And I really want to lean in on helping my colleagues and these fantastic candidates that we’ve recruited,” she told the outlet.

Kuster had come to be known as a champion of “several issues,” WMUR said, such as the “opioid crisis,” which she reached across the aisle to former Republican Rep. Frank Guinta to create a congressional task force to address.

She was also not shy about sharing her own experiences as a survivor of sexual assault, including once when she was a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill when she was 23.

“Ending Sexual Violence” is one of 12 “Key Issues” listed on her House web page, along with “Addressing the Addiction and Mental Health Crisis,” “Supporting Small Businesses,” and several others.

“As founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, I have pushed for comprehensive legislation to address this crisis and expand access to treatment and recovery services,” Kuster said, according to WMUR.

“As founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, I have worked across the aisle to tackle the scourge of sexual violence and equip survivors with the support they need to recover,” she added.

Kuster posted an announcement of her retirement on her House web page, as well, an excerpt of which appears below:

“When I was first elected to Congress in 2012, I promised to bring a new approach to Washington. Over the past 12 years, I have been proud to do just that. As founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, I have pushed for comprehensive legislation to address this crisis and expand access to treatment and recovery services. As founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, I have worked across the aisle to tackle the scourge of sexual violence and equip survivors with the support they need to recover. As chair of the New Democrat Coalition, I have helped bridge the partisan divide and find commonsense solutions to the biggest issues facing our country. While there is still more to be done, we have made great progress.

“This work has been many things — rewarding, frustrating, inspiring, and challenging. But, more than anything, it has been an honor. As your congresswoman, I have had the chance to meet directly with the people who make New Hampshire such an incredible place to live, work, and raise a family. From our small business owners to our first responders, farmers, teachers, veterans, health care providers, seniors, and local leaders, every conversation has been insightful and has guided my efforts in Washington.

“As I look to the future, I am excited by the work and opportunities that lie ahead. We all have a role to play in standing up for what we believe in, advocating for a better future, and pursuing the change that we want to see. I always said I was not going to stay in Congress forever — I will not be seeking re-election in 2024. 

“I will continue serving the people of New Hampshire until the end of my term in January 2025. In the months ahead, I will use my time to help Congress build on the progress we have made and finish the job for the American people. I will continue to lead the New Democrat Coalition to help pass comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to move our country forward.

“Thank you to the people of New Hampshire’s Second District who have trusted me to represent them for the past 12 years. Thank you to my husband Brad, my sons Zach and Travis, and my family for always standing with me through this journey, every step of the way. It’s the honor of my life to represent my home and my community, bringing our Granite State values and the voices of New Hampshire’s Second District to Congress. 

“Onward!”

WMUR noted that the open seat she is leaving would naturally be expected to be somewhat more competitive in November than if she were defending it as a six-term incumbent.

The station also suggested that Kuster “could play a pivotal role in choosing her successor,” but hadn’t expressed an opinion on the subject.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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