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Rep. Henry Waxman Announces Retirement from Congress

The long-time Democrat leader in the House says he's ready to move on to the next chapter.

Rep. Henry Waxman. Patch fie photo.
Rep. Henry Waxman. Patch fie photo.

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman announced today he will retire at the end of the current congressional session at year's end.

Waxman, 74, who, since 1974, has represented the 33rd Congressional District, which covers Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Palos Verdes, Beverly Hills and Malibu and reported to be the richest district in the nation, has long been a liberal leader in the House and was considered a key player in getting the president's Affordable Care Act passed.

The Los Angeles native, who enjoys a reputation as a prolific legislator, also has been credited with helping pass legislation aimed at improving the environment, reduce smoking and improving federal oversight of nursing homes.

“At the end of this year, I would have been in Congress for 40 years,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “If there is a time for me to move on to another chapter in my life, I think this is the time to do it.”

Waxman's colleague, Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, who was also elected in 1974, announced his retirement earlier this month.

Before 1995, when Democrats lost control of the House, Waxman, then chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and environment, led probes into numerous environmental and health issues. At one point, he got top tobacco company executives to swear that nicotine was not addictive.

In 2004, Waxman called out the Bush administration over what he called 237 misleading statements about the threat Iraq posed to the United States.

Competition for his congressional seat is expected to be intense. Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is being talked about as a natural replacement, considering his district overlaps Waxman's.

Yaroslavsky, who is termed out of his countywide seat, was “stunned and saddened” to learn of Waxman's retirement, his chief of staff, Joel Bellman, said in a telephone interview, adding this morning that Yaroslavsky has not had time to consider the political implications of the announcement and decide whether to compete for the seat.

--City News Service

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