Veteran Rep. John Olver, who has been the subject of retirement speculation for years, announced today that he will not seek re-election.
The Massachusetts Democrat, whose wife has cancer, said in a statement that he would retire at the end of his term.
“Since 1991, I have had the privilege and great honor of representing the people of the First District of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district has grown much larger from the district as it was in 1991, and these twenty years have been tumultuous years for America,” he said in a statement.
He added: “Last December, I announced that I intended to seek to continue my congressional service beyond 2012. Over the past six months, circumstances within my family have substantially changed, and I now find I must reconsider my earlier decision.”
Olver’s decision eases the burden on Massachusetts legislators drawing a new Congressional map. The Bay State lost a seat in reapportionment, and the state redistricting committee was faced with the difficult decision of which Democratic Member to draw out. It now appears likely that the two westernmost districts in the state, the 1st and 2nd, will be combined.
“We will miss John Olver as a legislative leader and effective advocate for Massachusetts, and I will miss him as a colleague,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said. “His career exemplifies public service at its best.”
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