WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Henry Waxman, the dean of Jewish lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, is retiring.
Waxman (D-Calif.), 74, who was first elected to Congress from a Los Angeles-area district in 1974, will finish out his term, which ends on Jan. 2.
“I am grateful for my supporters and allies, who have worked side-by-side with me to fight for issues we care about: health, environmental protection, women’s and gay rights, and strengthening the ties between the United States and our most important ally, the State of Israel,” he said in a statement Thursday.
Waxman has risen to leadership positions in the House, most recently as the senior Democrat on the powerful Energy Committee, which he chaired from 2009 to 2011. Waxman was perhaps most prominent as the chairman of the Oversight Committee during the last two years of the George W. Bush administration, convening hearings about the conduct of the Iraq War.
The longest serving Jewish House member, Waxman has taken a lead on pro-Israel issues, most recently in joining with Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to advance a bill that would increase cooperation with Israel in energy research.