Texas GOP lawmaker Conaway announces retirement

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said Wednesday that he plans to retire at the end of his term during a press conference in Midland, Texas.

“This chapter in our lives has been more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined. Well, all things come to an end, and my eighth term in Congress will be my endpoint,” he said. “I will go fulfill my duties to the District 11 finishing this term.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Conaway — who was first elected to the lower chamber in 2004 — is the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee and serves as a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, where he played a key role in its Russia probe.

The 71-year-old lawmaker said the end of his leadership position on the Agriculture Committee played a role in his decision, saying it’s a “perfect time” for him to transition out of the lower chamber. Republicans have limits on the number of years their members can serve at the top of committees.

"One of the things I've told folks all along is that when I'm no longer in a leadership position, I'm coming home,” he continued. “And so it's a great transition point for me to be able to come home.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Conaway voiced his frustrations with shifting into the minority after the midterm elections, noting the difficulty of accomplishing legislative goals without having control in the lower chamber. 

“Now, you know, being in the minority is a frustrating experience. As anybody who's worth a salt would confess that the partnership has become too intense. It's gotten to be where it's a lot more important about the jersey than the issue that we've got at hand, though we've got some daunting tasks ahead of us,” he said at the press conference. 

“You know, debt, immigration, Social Security, Medicare reform, all those kind of things, I hope to be a part of that. You get elected for two years, I want to serve all two years and do what I can. But being in the minority, you don't really have a chance to, to, to move the agenda.”

Conaway said he made his decision last year and wanted to announce now to provide ample time for potential candidates to prepare for the March primary. Texas's 11th Congressional District is traditionally a Republican stronghold.

The Texas Republican is the fifth GOP lawmaker to announce their retirement over the course of the past two weeks, joining Reps. Paul Mitchell (Mich.), Pete Olson (Texas), Martha Roby (Ala.) and Rob Bishop (Utah).