WASHINGTON — Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green announced on Monday that he will retire in 2022, becoming the first sitting House member to announce his plans to retire before a congressional election.
“After 21 terms in Congress representing southeast Houston, it is time for me to rest and be at peace with my decision,” Green, 65, said in a statement. “I will continue to be actively involved in the political process in a positive and peaceful manner.”
Green’s announcement sets off a scramble to replace the sitting lawmaker, who represented southeast Houston for three decades.
Last cycle, Green served as the only member of Congress to vote for the Trump tax cut — an unpopular position in the overwhelmingly Democratic congressional district.
He told Politico in November he would likely retire after 2018.
“I am not planning to run again because of my age and because my health has declined,” Green told the news site at the time.
Green, who is a lifelong Democrat, was first elected to Congress in 1991 after he received more than 50 percent of the vote in a special election.
“Representative Green represents generations of our family and he has been a faithful servant to the citizens of District 23,” President Obama said in a statement to The Dallas Morning News. “He has made a difference, and he is leaving a positive legacy. I wish him well.”
Several statewide elected officials are looking to run. Democratic Sen. John Cornyn called Green “an important member of the Texas congressional delegation” in a statement.
Among Democratic state elected officials, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins called Green “a respected colleague and a great public servant who has helped so many in the 23rd Congressional District, and beyond.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also offered congratulations.
“Congressman Green has always been a man of integrity,” he said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”