Thursday, January 7, 2010
With this year’s November midterm elections fast approaching, three prominent United States Democrats announced their plans for retirement from public service on Wednesday.
Powerful and influential—yet controversial for his alleged close ties to the financial sector and his handling of last year’s bailout—Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut announced that he would not be seeking a sixth term this year.
In a speech to his supporters in East Haddam, Connecticut, the sixty-five-year-old senior senator—with his family at his side—said, “I have been a Connecticut senator for thirty years. I’m very proud of the job I’ve done and the results delivered. But none of us is irreplaceable. None of us is indispensable.”
He then went on to say, “Over the past twelve months, I’ve managed four major pieces of legislation through the United States Congress, served as chair and acting chair of two major Senate committees, placing me at the center of the two most important issues of our time—health care and reform of financial services.”
In addition to highlighting some personal travails, Dodd alluded to his precarious political situation, “I lost a beloved sister in July, and in August, Ted Kennedy. I battled cancer over the summer, and in the midst of all of this, found myself in the toughest political shape of my career.”
Despite this, Dodd adamantly maintained that none of the above reasons were the causes for his retirement. He said that his reasons were more “personal,” and that his retirement would hopefully give him a much-wanted opportunity to spend more time with his family.
Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota announced that he would not run for re-election this year either.
“Although I still have a passion for public service and enjoy my work in the Senate, I have other interests and I have other things I would like to pursue outside of public life,” said the sixty-seven-year-old, three-term senator who said he came to this decision after discussing his future with his immediate family over Christmas.
Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter announced that he too would not seek a second term. The fifty-three-year-old freshman governor said that although he felt his race was “absolutely winnable,” after some deep “soul searching,” he realized that he truly wanted to retire from politics nonetheless. This due to the fact that he felt his main priority should be to be a better husband to his wife as well as a better father to their four children.
When asked to comment on Senator Dodd’s retirement on behalf of the Administration, Vice President Joseph Biden said Dodd would “be long recognized as one of the most significant senators of my generation.”
He furthermore stated, “I believe the nation will miss his wisdom, wit and compassion. I count myself lucky because I know he’s not going too far and will always be a source of advice and counsel.”
Biden gave similar comments and expressed like sentiments about the retirement of his other two Democratic colleagues as well.