Hispanic Caucus chairman to retire

Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) said Friday that he would not seek re-election.

“I still find the job hugely rewarding, but the demands pull me somewhere else,” said Gonzalez in an interview Friday with the San Antonio Express-News.

{mosads}”I’ve been in Congress for 14 years and I want to do something else – what that is, I really don’t know, But financially, I would like to be productive and have the resources to make a better life,” he said.

Gonzalez, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, succeeded
his father Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D) who represented Texas’s 20th
congressional district for 38 years.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) praised Gonzalez for his service, saying he was “saddened by his retirement,” in a statement released Saturday.

“The U.S. Congress and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will be losing a dedicated public servant who has been a leader on voting rights issues,” said Hoyer. “Charlie has been a tireless advocate for the people of Texas since he first came to Congress over a decade ago and he has carried on the proud tradition of his father.”

In a statement from the White House, President Obama said Gonzalez had “fought tirelessly for a cleaner environment, Wall Street reform and more accessible health care for Texans.”

“Michelle and I wish him and his family the very best and join the people of Texas in thanking him for his many years of service,” said Obama.

Gonzalez was one of several Democratic lawmakers who sued the state over a congressional map drawn by state Republicans, but he said the fight over redistricting had not led to his decision to forego seeking an eighth term in Congress.

On Wednesday, a Texas court released a new redistricting map that will likely give Democrats 13 House seats in the state, up from their current nine seats.

This story was posted at 6:40 a.m. and has been updated.

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