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Long-serving Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois has revealed that he will not seek a 16th term in office.
While this decision means that his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives will end next year after 30 years of service, the congressman says that he will not be departing from public life.
The 75-year-old said that he will be working with congressional legislators, and that he is not retiring, but returning to his church, his family, and his passion.
The congressman is pastor of the Beloved Community Christian Church of God in Christ, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“First of all, I’m not retiring man, alright?” he said during an interview, according to POLITICO. “I am not ready to go off to some spot in the sun, sit on nobody’s beach drinking tequila.”
Democrats likely aren’t in any danger of losing the congressional seat. The district is strongly Democratic, according to the Sun-Times
Rush, who defeated then-Illinois state senator Barack Obama during a 2000 congressional primary, is the only individual ever to emerge victorious against Obama during an election contest, according to the Associated Press. Obama later served as a U.S. Senator and eventually became the President of the United States.
“Congressman Bobby Rush has been a champion of civil rights, who has devoted his entire life to the fight for racial justice. When he retires at the end of his term, Congress, his constituents and the country will deeply miss his prayerful and powerful voice for justice in the House,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “I wish him and his dear wife Paulette best wishes as they prepare to begin their next chapter with his family and with his Church.”