Henry Waxman and What’s Wrong with Congress
Ordinarily, when a man retires from a job after four decades at the age of 75, the reason is self-evident.
Ordinarily, when a man retires from a job after four decades at the age of 75, the reason is self-evident. Not so, apparently, when you’re an American legislator. Thus, the Washington Post has turned over valuable op-ed space to Rep. Henry Waxman to explain, “The reason I’m leaving Congress.”
I announced this past week that I will be retiring after having the honor of serving my Los Angeles constituents in Congress for 40 years.
Immediately, speculation began that I am leaving because I am frustrated with a broken institution.
Again, Waxman turns 75 in September, well ahead of Election Day and months before he’d begin another term. Which would end when he’s 77. But, of course, only his frustration with the institution would explain his leaving.
But the exact opposite is true: I am leaving Congress with my conviction intact that the legislative branch can be a powerful force for good.
The rest of the op-ed is an advertisement for what a fine Congressman Henry Waxman has been over the years. All the struggles he’s valiantly undertaken for the betterment of his fellow man.
Finally, though, he answers the question. And it’s the obvious answer!
My reason for leaving is simple: Forty years is a long time, far longer than I ever expected to serve. It’s time for me to give someone else a chance, ideally someone young enough to make the same long-term commitment required for real legislative success.
Yes. Let’s give somebody else four decades. It’s only fair.