Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced via YouTube today that she won’t seek another term in the upper chamber come 2016.
Boxer, who took office in 1993, turned 74 in November. She lost the gavel of the Environment and Public Works Committee with the GOP takeover of the Senate in the last election.
She delivered the message via a faux interview with her grandson, Zach Rodham. “Grandma, have you made a decision regarding the 2016 Senate race?” he asks. “Has the constant fighting in the Senate been a factor in your decision?”
Boxer said that’s not a factor because the causes dear to her — the environment, abortion rights, civil rights — constitute “a fight worth making.”
“Has your age played a role in your decision?” Zach asks.
“Finally, the question reporters love to ask,” Boxer replies. “No, definitely not… Some people are old at 40, and some people are young at 80… I feel as young as I did when I got elected.”
“I am never going to retire,” she added. “The work is too important. But I will not be running for the Senate in 2016.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who won a special election in the same cycle as Boxer’s first win so is slightly senior in congressional ranking, is 81 and hasn’t announced any intention to retire.
Boxer said that by stepping down from the Senate she’ll “have more time to help people” through her political action committee. She added that she’ll work to ensure her Senate seat “stays progressive.”
“And I want to help our Democratic candidate for president make history. But you know what? I want to come home. I want to come home to the state I love so much, California.”
Boxer said she’ll be leaving Congress with “about a thousand” accomplishments, and will post 100 of these on her website.
The senator wraps up her video with a bit of a rap:
“The Senate is the place
where I’ve always made my case
For families, for the planet, and the human race
More than 20 years in a job I love
Thanks to California and the Lord above
So although I won’t be working from my Senate space
and although I won’t be running in that next tough race
As long as there are issues and challenges and strife
I will never retire, ’cause that’s the meaning of my life.”