Powerful House Democratic appropriator not seeking reelection

Longtime Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), the powerful chairwoman of an Appropriations subcommittee overseeing immigration issues, will not seek reelection in 2022.

“Serving my Constituents in Congress has been the single most distinguished honor of my life,” Roybal-Allard said in a statement Monday night. “Over my many years of public service, I have always strived to do that which is best to help improve my community and my country. After thirty years in the House of Representatives, the time has come for me to spend more time with my family. Therefore, I have decided not to seek reelection.”

“While I will not be seeking reelection in 2022, I look forward to continue to work for the people of my district in the new year and long after I leave public office,” she added.

The Hill on Monday first reported Roybal-Allard’s intentions not to run again.

Roybal-Allard, 80, has begun calling Democratic allies and friends about her retirement, the sources said.

“She is an icon,” said a fellow Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) member.

She becomes the 23rd House Democrat to signal they are not running for reelection during a difficult election cycle in which Republicans are well positioned to win back the majority.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), a leader of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats, announced earlier Monday that she was retiring in 2022 to spend more time with her young children. Over the weekend, there were also reports Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) plans to retire.

The Hill reached out to Roybal-Allard’s office, which had no immediate comment.

In 1993, Roybal-Allard became the first Mexican American woman and the first Latina Democrat elected to Congress.

At the time of her first election to represent California’s 33rd District, her constituency had the largest Hispanic majority of any district in the country.

Roybal-Allard’s district maintained its strong Hispanic majorities through two redistricting processes, after the 2000 and 2010 censuses, but the draft proposals approved by California’s redistricting commission would have Roybal-Allard drawn into fellow California Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal’s district.

Lowenthal earlier this month announced his retirement.

Robert Garcia, the first Hispanic and openly gay mayor of Long Beach, jumped into the race to succeed Lowenthal, setting up a potential primary matchup with Roybal-Allard. 

Roybal-Allard told the Los Angeles Times last month she was unhappy with the redistricting commission’s proposed map, echoing many Latino advocates who’ve said the state’s new maps don’t ensure representation for the state’s growing Hispanic community.

“I am aware of the current draft map and I have concerns about the protections of Voting Rights [Act] districts and in particular the diluting of the vote in our Latino communities,” Roybal-Allard told the Los Angeles Times.

Still, Roybal-Allard’s retirement almost certainly won’t put at risk any Democratic seats.

It will, however, end a political dynasty that’s been instrumental in the growth of Hispanic political representation.

Roybal-Allard was first elected when her father, former Rep. Edward Roybal (D-Calif.), retired after 30 years in Congress.

When he was first elected in 1962, Roybal became the first Hispanic to represent California in Congress since former Rep. Romualdo Pacheco (R-Calif.) won a seat in 1879.

In 1999, Roybal-Allard became the first woman to serve as CHC chair. She also was the first Latina to serve as one of the 12 powerful Appropriations subcommittee chairmen, who are known as “cardinals.”

Updated: 7:06 p.m.

Tags Alan Lowenthal Albio Sires Lucille Roybal-Allard Stephanie Murphy

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