Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush, who was first elected to Congress in 1992, said this week he won’t seek re-election in November.
Rush, a legendary co-founder of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, is the latest in a wave of Democrats in Congress, around two dozen, who have announced they are retiring from politics.
However, Rush said his departure from politics should not be viewed as retirement.
“First of all, I’m not retiring man, alright?” he said in an interview. “I am not ready to go off to some spot in the sun, sit on nobody’s beach drinking tequila.”
Rush says he plans to focus on his ministry. Rush serves as pastor at the Beloved Community Church of God in Christ.
“I’m coming home to my church located in the heart of South Side of the city of Chicago,” Rush said. “I’m just entering into a new level of my life.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement after Congressman Bobby Rush announcment:
“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.
“Since his early years as an organizer in the movement for civil rights, Congressman Rush never relented in his fight to lift up long-underserved communities of color in Chicago and across the country. For nearly three decades, he has offered our Caucus fearless leadership to combat violence in our communities – from heinous hate crimes to the horrors of gun violence. And, as a senior Member on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, he led the charge to protect Americans from dangerous consumer products and predatory lending practices.
“On behalf of the House and his grateful nation, I thank Congressman Rush for his lifetime of service. 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.”