The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee will not run for re-election at the end of his term.
Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), now in his tenth term, has been a vocal foe of environmental overreach and a lack of transparency at the Interior Department as a strong Western lawmaker.
“My ambition as a Congressman then and now has been the same: to do the best job I can to serve Central Washington. Last Friday, I celebrated my 73rd birthday and while I have the ability and seniority to continue serving Central Washington, it is time for the voters to choose a new person with new energy to represent them in the people’s House,” Hastings said in a statement.
He has won each of his elections by a comfortable margin since defeating Jay Inslee in 1994.
“Without question, my family weighed heavily in my decision,” Hastings continued. “When I was first elected in 1994, my wife Claire and I were proud parents of three young adults who were just starting to make their own way in the world. Today, in addition, Claire and I have two sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law and are the grandparents of eight. As of last year all three of our children’s families now call Washington state their home. Claire has always been my greatest supporter and the hardest part of every week is leaving her Monday morning to catch an airplane to Washington, DC. She and I both look forward with anticipation to the time we will have together and with our family after my term ends in January.”
Hastings was joined by his family when he announced his retirement today at a Best Western in Pasco, Wash.
“For nearly two decades, Doc Hastings has served in the House with honor, humility and distinction,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “In addition to being a skilled legislator and leader, he’s the epitome of grace and class, and he’s a very dear friend. I’m grateful for Doc’s service to our institution and our nation, and for his friendship and support throughout our many years together in the House. I wish him the very best of luck, and thank him for all he’s done for the House, his constituents and our country.” Hastings is an ally of Boehner’s and often was chosen to preside over the lower chamber during the most contentious House debates.
One of Hastings’ Democratic colleagues, Washington Rep. Adam Smith, called Hastings a “very influential” member of Congress. “I thank him for his service, and I wish him and his family all the best in the future,” Smith said.