Another member of Congress has shocked their colleagues and constituents with a surprise announcement that they will soon retire.
Democrat Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) has revealed that he will not seek re-election to another term in 2024.
According to the Washington Examiner, however, Cardenas seemed to indicate that he is not entirely abandoning politics and public service.
Cardenas is the 20th House Democrat, and 30th member of Congress overall to announce their plans to retire at the end of the current term.
He is also the 10th House lawmaker to do so this month alone.
Most point to the current dysfunction and bitter partisanship of the lower legislative body as a major factor in those decisions.
The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Rep. Cardenas would not seek re-election to another term next year.
Nevertheless, the report was quick to add that his seat representing California’s 29th District, which includes much of the San Fernando Valley, will safely remain in Democrat hands.
“It will be the first time in 28 years that I’m not on the ballot,” the 60-year-old politician, who was first elected to California’s Assembly in 1996, told the Times.
“The truth of the matter is I thought I could do this just for a few years.”
“I’m just at the age where I have enough energy and experience to maybe do something [different] and have another chapter of a career where I don’t have to go to Washington, D.C., 32 weeks out of the year,” Cardenas added.
The Times noted that after Cardenas served three terms in the state Assembly, he went on to serve three terms on the Los Angeles City Council before running for and winning a seat in Congress in the 2012 election.
In a formal statement posted to social media, Rep. Cardenas announced his decision to not seek re-election in 2024 and to retire from Congress after the current term.
“It’s been an honor to humbly serve my community — the incredible people of the Northeast San Fernando Valley — during my 28 years of public service,” Cardenas said.
“I am grateful for the community’s trust and support to represent them in the California State Legislature, on the Los Angeles City Council, and the last 11 years as the Congressman of the 29th District.”
— Rep. Tony Cárdenas (@RepCardenas) November 21, 2023
He went on to reference his Mexican heritage and the value of public service that his parents had instilled in him.
The congressman also expressed his optimism about the “next generation of leaders” that were beginning to emerge.
“I am confident that they will break through the extreme partisanship that has impeded progress and get back to delivering for hardworking Americans,” Cardenas added.
“The future for the Northeast San Fernando Valley, our state, and our country will be in good hands.”
Just two days before the retirement announcement from Rep. Cardenas, The Washington Post reported on the surge of retirement announcements from other members, both old and young, and the expectation that more such announcements would be coming over the next few weeks and months.
However, as shocking and unexpected as some of the announcements were, The Post noted that the number of impending retirements was not particularly unusual in comparison to other years, though there was some concern over the “quality” of some of the more experienced members who were jumping ship from Congress — some due to age, others to pursue other offices, and still others who intended to exit politics altogether.
As was mentioned by the other media reports, many of those who have decided to retire from Congress have pointed to how dysfunctional it has become — the multiple protracted speaker battles this year was a prime example — as well as the highly partisan nature of many members and “constant brinksmanship” in terms of government funding and other battles over legislative affairs and congressional investigations, among other things.