Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chambers most senior member, said Monday that he won't seek reelection in 2022, opening a scramble to become a member of a narrowly-divided Congress amidst the political divide. The party is trying to hold control in next year's midterm elections.
He listened to a video that he told the Vermont statehouse in Montpelier where he founded his Senate career nearly half a century ago. Leahy said his senate career was his state's longest-serving senator and that he was proud to be the state's longest-serving senator, but still was exhausted.
This paper is headed to the state where he is the shabby, and will carry on his work for the nation's great state.
Leahy is the fifth largest member in Senate history and the most senior member of the majority serves as the chambers president pro tempore, whose vote comes from a senate split by 50-50. In the future, his decision to retire leaves the Democrats open to defense, with the Republican majority in five open seats.
Despite his comments by the Associated Press last spring, the Vermont governor said he doesn't have a lot of interest in running for the Senate. If so, Scott said, you'll never open the door on everything.
Republicans are not the only ones who hold both of those seats next year; Democrat Peter Welch is also a leading contender. It would mean that Democrats could have a strong run in both of these seats next year.
In his eight years in Congress, Leahy saw his state go from a Republican stronghold to a Democratic and conservative city, home to Democrat Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.
Leahy was 34 in 1974 when he became the youngest person to be elected to the Senate from Vermont. He also serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is the most senior chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Senate Agriculture committees.
Leahy has had a track record of working to conserve Vermonts forests, has fought to eliminate landmines, and advocated for human rights and prevent the rollback of civil liberties. He was the last of the Watergate Babies, who was elected immediately after the resignation of President Richard Nixon, in spite of the demands of the Reform of the Constitution and pressed to strengthen committee power.
Leahy acknowledged his efforts to establish a program to protect the publics rights to privacy, and to protect forests and farms, and to clean up Lake Champlain, which divides northern Vermont from New York. He also focused on an individuals right to privacy and updated the Violence Against Women Act, adding protections for Native Americans and LGBTQ members.
He told reporters he wanted to return to Vermont and give his retirement announcement. He grew up across the street from the statehouse he stood to talk about the neighborhood and rode his tricycle around the halls breaking the laws how many law people were breaking.
After the Watergate scandal, he recalled arriving in Congress in the middle of a constitutional crisis, and amid a seemingly endless war with Vietnam. Within months, he rejected the reauthorization of the Vietnam war, as a junior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, however, many in Vermont supported the conflict.
His hope was that Vermonters would respect my opinion and my conscience, even if they disagreed on my decision for the war, he said Monday. It was a stance that he believed that the countries's most loved.
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