Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) has announced that he will not seek reelection in the 2022 midterms, joining a growing list of Democratic retirees.
Lowenthal, a staunch progressive, has had a relatively shorter term in Congress than many others who are retiring next year, having been first elected in 2012.
“Just as every journey has a beginning, so too does it have an end,” Lowenthal said in a statement. “I am announcing today that I will not be running for reelection to Congress in 2022.”
“It is time to pass the baton,” he continued. “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 concluded: “I believe deeply in the innate goodness of our nation and our people. I have seen us live up to that potential so many times, and in doing so, move our nation and the world forward. But progress must be earned. It remains up to each of us to continue that struggle.”
While in Congress, Lowenthal served as a member on several House committees including the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, three subcommittees of the Transportation Committee, the Committee on Natural Resources, and three subcommittees underneath it.
He advocated for a slew of progressive causes, and was a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, the Medicare for All Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, among others.
Lowenthal has been outspoken against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a populist figure who has often been compared to a more right-wing Donald Trump.
In a 2019 letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Lowenthal and 29 other Democrats contended that they were “particularly alarmed by the threat Bolsonaro’s agenda poses to the LGBTQ+ community and other minority communities, women, labor activists, and political dissidents in Brazil.”
More recently, Lowenthal has spoken in favor of the $1.85 trillion Build Back Better Act, which passed the lower chamber but is now facing hurdles in the Senate.
Back in California, Lowenthal also recently called for the gradual dismantling of offshore drilling, and put forward legislation that would completely ban it along the Western seaboard.
“Offshore fossil fuel production in federal waters presents one of the highest risks to the public and our environment and must be one of the first sources that are completely phased out. Congress must [pass] the West Coast Ocean Protection Act to permanently ban oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington,” Lowenthal said.
At the same time, gas prices have increased by almost 50 percent over the past year due to the Biden administration’s decision to significantly undercut domestic oil production, leaving U.S. gas prices to be determined by foreign actors in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released her own statement on Lowenthal’s coming departure.
“Over the course of his long career in public service, Congressman Lowenthal has been a preeminent champion for the environment,” Pelosi wrote. “After a decade in the House, Congressman Lowenthal’s passion and intellect will be deeply missed by our Caucus and the Congress.”
Lowenthal is the latest in a long line of soon-to-be retired Democrats who will not run again in 2022.
In the House, Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) has announced his plan to retire in 2022. Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and David Price (D-N.C.) plan to retire at the end of their terms in 2022 as well. Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) have announced the same intention.
In the Senate, one prominent Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the longest-serving member in the current Senate and the president pro tempore of the body, will also be retiring.