LONG BEACH (CNS) - Veteran Long Beach politician Alan Lowenthal will not seek re-election to Congress next year, he announced today.
``Almost 30 years ago to the day, I made the decision to run for the Long Beach City Council because I felt that my council member didn't listen to me or my neighbors. Every day since, over three decades of public service, I have re-committed myself to listening to you, to serving your interests, and doing my best for you,'' the 80-year-old Democrat said in a message to constituents.
``This journey has taken me from Long Beach City Hall, to the California State Capitol, and to our nation's capital. During my time as a public servant, I have met some of the most incredible people, received the counsel of wise leaders, and had the honor of working with some of the most dedicated public servants.
``...But just as every journey has a beginning, so too does it have an end. I am announcing today that I will not be running for reelection to Congress in 2022.
``It is time to pass the baton. It is time to rest and surround myself with the benefits of a life well lived and earned honorably in the service of my fellow citizens,'' he continued.
Lowenthal has represented California's 47th District since 2012. The district encompasses portions of eastern Los Angeles County and western Orange County. New congressional maps are still being drawn that would change the district.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who was not immediately available for comment, could be one potential candidate for the seat.
Lowenthal serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
He said retirement from Congress was also ``a chance for me and my wife, Debbie, who has been my rock throughout this journey and who has been by my side despite her own sacrifices, to even more deeply enjoy our lives together.''
Lowenthal said he will remain engaged in his final year in Congress, ``determined to make the most of that time. After that, there are certainly other pages left to write in my life and other challenges I would like to take on beyond the halls of government.''
Orange County Democratic Party Chair Ada Briceno said she was ``proud'' that Lowenthal was her representative.
``I'm just very thankful as a Democrat in Orange County that he has paved the way with his voting record and his extraordinary leadership,'' Briceno said. ``We've been so fortunate to have such a deep friend in him. He's going to be missed. He's absolutely going to be missed, but we're thankful for him paving the way for so many. I couldn't be more proud that he's my congressman.''
Lowenthal was praised by several other area leaders following the announcement, with Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, calling him ``a true public servant.''
``Congressman Lowenthal has fought tirelessly for Southern California families for nearly three decades,'' Porter said in a statement.
``His leadership helped transform the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles into two of the cleanest and most active ports in the world -- a clear validation that climate action and economic growth are often hand and glove. As Chair of the House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, Congressman Lowenthal has held Big Oil's feet to the fire and pressed for common-sense solutions to the climate crisis.''
L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, a former Congressional colleague of Lowenthal, tweeted, ``Over the course of his long career, my friend and former colleague, Congressman Alan Lowenthal, has been a champion of the environment, equality, and his constituents. Congratulations, @RepLowenthal, on an incredible career and a well-deserved retirement.''
Lowenthal's ex-wife Bonnie Lowenthal served on the Long Beach City Council and in the California Assembly. His daughter-in-law Suja Lowenthal served on Long Beach's city council and school board, and is currently the city manager of Hermosa Beach.