Longtime Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman is retiring after 40 years in office. The California congressman, a key architect of ObamaCare, announced Thursday that he will not seek reelection in the fall.

In a statement, Waxman said in part:

“In 1974, I announced my first campaign for Congress.  Today, I am announcing that I have run my last campaign.  I will not seek reelection to the Congress and will leave after 40 years in office at the end of this year. 

“As I reflect on my career, I am filled with gratitude.  I am grateful for the support of my constituents, who have entrusted me to represent them and encouraged me to become a leader on national and international issues.  I am grateful for my supporters and allies, who have worked side-by-side with me to fight for issues we care about:  health, environmental protection, women’s and gay rights, and strengthening the ties between the United States and our most important ally, the State of Israel.

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“And I am not leaving because I think House Democrats have no chance to retake the House.  House Republicans have no compelling vision for the future.  The public understands this, and I am confident that the Democrats can regain control of the House.

“The reason for my decision is simple.  After 40 years in Congress, it’s time for someone else to have the chance to make his or her mark, ideally someone who is young enough to make the long-term commitment that’s required for real legislative success.  I still feel youthful and energetic, but I recognize if I want to experience a life outside of Congress, I need to start soon.  Public office is not the only way to serve, and I want to explore other avenues while I still can. 

“I have had a long career and an eventful one – and I wouldn’t trade any of it.  I woke each day looking forward to opportunities to make our country stronger, healthier, and fairer.  And I will always be grateful for this honor and privilege.”