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Congressman Bob Goodlatte will not seek re-election in 2018

(WDBJ)
Published: Nov. 9, 2017 at 11:00 AM EST
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6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte says he will not run for re-election next year.

Goodlatte made the announcement Thursday morning, saying the end of his current term will be an opportunity to start a new chapter.

"This is the right time for me and my family," Goodlatte said in an interview Thursday afternoon in Washington. "I've wanted to spend more time with my family, my wife, my children, my two granddaughters. And the fact of the matter is I've also always wanted to do something else with my life beyond the Congress."

Goodlatte has represented the 6th District in Congress since 1993, and he currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee, but that chairmanship is coming to an end, and Goodlatte says that was a factor in the timing of his decision.

"If you think about it, I don't know that it's really shocking," WDBJ7 Political Analyst Harry Wilson said Thursday. "He is term-limited as Chair of Judiciary, so there's a question of what would he do after 2018."

Goodlatte says he is grateful for the support of his 6th District constituents, and wants them to know that he's still at work.

"I want them to know that I am going to be here for another 14 months," Goodlatte said in an interview. "And they should make sure they continue to communicate with me about matters that are of interest to them and to contact me whenever I can help them deal with any problems they are having with government agencies. We still have a long way to go."

Goodlatte's exit has set off a scramble among potential candidates.

Thursday afternoon, Delegate Ben Cline and Republican National Committeewoman Cynthia Dunbar announced they will seek the GOP nomination.

Democrat Peter Volosin has been running for weeks.

And at least one Independent, Augusta County's Michael Frend, has already kicked off his campaign.

More people are expected to add their names to the list of congressional candidates, now that Goodlatte has announced he will not run again.

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6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Following is the text of a letter his office released Thursday morning.

Dear Friend,

When I first decided to run for Congress there were several things I wanted to achieve for the Commonwealth of Virginia and our nation. I had a strong passion for public service, a love of the law and the judicial system, and a deep appreciation for the people who call western and central Virginia home. These passions led me to serve on the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees throughout my time in the House, and have shaped my work on policies impacting the American people. I’ve had the privilege to serve as Chairman of both of these committees, and I’ve been proud to work on policies that have become law and advance fiscal conservatism, personal liberty, economic growth, and limited government.

For the past 25 years, it has been my honor to represent the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. I cannot begin to express how blessed I am to have had the opportunity to serve and take part in the great experiment of self-government envisioned by our Founders. It has been a labor of love to work countless hours and travel endless miles on the roads of our District for a quarter of a century.

Every two years, Maryellen and I sat down to discuss whether to run again or not. When we discussed the 2018 election, the conversation ended a little differently than in past years. After much contemplation and prayer, we decided it was the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the Sixth District. I will not seek re-election. With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters.

While I’m not running for re-election, my work in the 115th Congress is far from done. There is much that I hope we can accomplish in the next year, including: bolstering enforcement of our immigration laws and reforming the legal immigration system, simplifying the tax code in order to stimulate job growth and benefit families in the Sixth District, enacting criminal justice reform, repealing Obamacare, advancing protections of the freedoms and liberties enshrined in our Constitution, and, of course, continuing first-class constituent service for the citizens of the Sixth District. I look forward to working with the House Leadership, the Senate, and President Trump in bringing real conservative change to our country.

I extend my deepest thanks to the people of Virginia’s Sixth District who have placed their trust in me. It is truly you who are the highlight of my time in elected office. I’ve had the good fortune of having an amazing staff team during my time in Congress – both in my Sixth District offices as well as in the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees. They’ve done excellent work, and I greatly value their commitment to serving the Sixth District and the American people. I’d also like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work over the years. I genuinely appreciate your friendship and support. And finally, none of this would have been possible without the love and support of my wife, Maryellen, and our children, Bobby, Jen, and Jen’s husband, Matt. They have my enduring love and gratitude.

I look forward to what the next chapter brings.

Sincerely,

Bob