WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - One of Virginia’s most-influential elected officials said he’s calling it quits. The news echoed through the halls of Capitol Hill.
Many in D.C. expected tax reform to be the story of the day. But, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) stole headlines with his decision not to seek re-election.
Goodlatte will leave behind one of the most-powerful seats in Congress at the end of 2018, after what will be a quarter-century on Capitol Hill.
“This is the right time for me and my family,” Goodlatte said of his decision to leave, “I’ve also always wanted to do something else with my life beyond the Congress.”
GOP rules would prevent Goodlatte from holding onto his powerful chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, even if he did serve another term.
The Congressman said the President and his sometimes controversial style did not factor ins his decision to step away. “Oh no, we’ve had a great working relationship with the president.”
Goodlatte said he’s not prepared to tick off his proudest and toughest moments yet. He said he’s focused on what remains to be done in the next 14 months.
At the top of his to-do list are immigration and criminal justice reform as well as tweaking national defense laws to better protect Americans and their civil rights.
Goodlatte did reflect upon one aspect of his time in Washington. “I want to tell my constituents that it has been a tremendous honor to represent them,” he said, “they are so interested in freedom, so interested in limited government, so interested in promoting free enterprise and individual responsibility.”
Virginia’s two Democratic Senators were unavailable for interviews after the news broke Thursday. But, both issued statements wishing Goodlatte the best of luck and thanking him for his service.
The statements are below. More of the Congressman’s interview can be viewed in the video player above.
“Bob Goodlatte has served the people of Virginia in Congress for more than two decades. I have appreciated the opportunity to work with Congressman Goodlatte on a variety of issues important to our constituents in the Roanoke Valley. I thank him for a lifetime of public service, and extend him and Maryellen my very best wishes for the future.”
• Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia)
“While Bob and I didn’t see eye to eye on everything, we worked together for our constituents on local issues like helping Plains Area Day Care in Rockingham County make building repairs and designating the ‘National George C. Marshall Museum and Library’ in Lexington. I’d like to thank Rep. Goodlatte for 25 years of public service in Virginia and I wish him and his family the very best in his retirement from Congress.”
• Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia)