Congressman Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., announced Thursday that he would retire at the end of 2012 in Kingston, N.Y., marking the conclusion of his 20-year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Hinchey, 73, represents the state’s 22nd congressional district, including the City of Ithaca and much of Tompkins County.
Speaking at the Senate House, the same location where he first announced his run for Congress in 1992, Hinchey, who recently overcame colon cancer, said the decision stemmed from his health challenge and a desire to spend more time with his family and friends, according to a transcript of the speech posted on his official House website.
“This life-changing experience helped put everything in perspective for me,” Hinchey said. “It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day things in life, but this past year provided me with an even greater appreciation for my family, my friends and, quite frankly, my time.”
Hinchey, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, said he would remain active in politics, but did not specify in what capacity. He said it is time for someone else to represent the people of New York’s 22nd congressional district and ended his speech by expressing his gratitude for his constituents.
“I leave Congress with no regrets, but with a strong appreciation and love for this extraordinary institution, our democracy and the people of our nation, particularly the people of this great district, who I love dearly.”
In a written statement released Thursday, President Barack Obama thanked Hinchey, a former member of the U.S. Navy, for his efforts in Congress.
“Throughout his career, Maurice has been a champion for the middle class, leading the charge for renewable energy and Wall Street reform and working tirelessly to get Americans back to work,” Obama said. “Michelle and I join the people of New York in thanking Congressman Hinchey for his service.”