Rep. Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) announced he would not seek re-election to represent the 21st Congressional District of Texas after 30 years working in government, his office confirmed to KVUE Thursday.
"For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else," Smith said in a statement obtained by KVUE.
Smith currently serves as Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, which controls the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
According to KVUE's media partners at the Austin-American Statesman, Smith's relationship with the EPA has not always been the smoothest. He's accused federal scientists of pushing an "extreme climate agenda", and has gone on record to call some of the scientists' evidence "wishy-washy", the Statesman reported.
The 21st district includes parts of Austin, San Antonio, and the Texas Hill Country, which hosts about 700,000 people.
Smith's term ends in 2019, and he said, "There is still much to do. There is legislation to enact, dozens of hearings to hold, and hundreds of votes to cast."
Read Smith's full statement below:
I am grateful for the trust voters have placed in me, the friendship constituents have shown me, and the opportunities that serving in Congress have given me.
Representing the 21st District and its more than 700,000 residents is an honor almost beyond description. To enact legislation that will benefit millions of Americans and to help constituents in their dealings with the federal government has been an immense privilege.
Having chaired the Ethics, Judiciary, and Science Committees, and also served as a member of the Homeland Security and Budget Committees, I’ve been able to shape policy involving ethics, immigration, crime, intellectual property, space, energy, the environment, the budget and high tech.
And, through the years, it’s been gratifying to have been named one of the 100 most influential people in D.C., one of the most effective members of Congress, and Legislator of the Year.
It is humbling living in a small apartment in Washington four nights a week. And I seldom leave the office before late at night. But traveling back to Texas almost every weekend recharges the batteries.
For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else. At the end of this Congress, I will have completed my six-year term as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. I have one new grandchild and a second arriving soon!! And I hope to find other ways to stay involved in politics.
With over a year remaining in my term, there is still much to do. There is legislation to enact, dozens of hearings to hold, and hundreds of votes to cast.
Our nation faces many challenges but we will always prevail if we put the interests of American citizens and taxpayers first. A successful democracy requires an honest media, true patriots, and respect for the rule of law. All of us can do our part to help promote these ideals.
Heartfelt thanks and much appreciation goes to family, friends, constituents, colleagues, and staff members for a productive three decades. I will always value their dedication and support.
Let’s stay in touch and let me know when I can be of help.Lamar