U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, has been the architect of many important environmental, health, and food safety laws.

Waxman Announces He'll Retire This Year

Ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, he has played a leading role in enacting major environmental and health laws for decades.

Another long-serving California Democrat, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, has announced he will retire this year rather than seek re-election. Waxman, a congressional leader in enacting environmental and health laws for decades, joins U.S. Rep. George Miller; both will have served 40 years in the House of Representatives.

Waxman is the ranking member on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health research, environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce.

"In 1974, I announced my first campaign for Congress. Today, I am announcing that I have run my last campaign," Waxman said Jan. 30. "I will not seek re-election 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."

He pointed to several achievements, including working with Sen. Orrin Hatch to write the law that created the generic drug industry, writing the recently enacted law that gave FDA jurisdiction over tobacco products, three major food safety laws (one of which required nutrition labels on food packaging), a law protecting nursing home residents and create a nursing home resident's "Bill of Rights," and passage in 2010 of the Affordable Care Act.

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