Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, the influential chairman of the House Budget Committee who has played a key role in pushing for President Joe Biden’s agenda to expand the nation’s social safety net, announced this week that he will not seek another term in next year’s election.
Yarmuth, first elected to Congress in 2006, when he unseated a Republican incumbent in the Louisville-area district, said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
The top-ranking Democrat in Kentucky’s state Senate quickly announced he would run for the seat.
Yarmuth, who will be 75 when his final term ends, said he’s in excellent health but acknowledged that the “significant physical demands” of the job will become even more challenging.
“ The truth be told, I never expected to be in Congress this long,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “I always said I couldn’t imagine being here longer than 10 years. After every election, I was asked how long I intended to serve but I never had an answer. Today I do. This term will be my last.”
The congressman, known for his wit and easygoing demeanor, displayed grit in defeating Republican incumbent Anne Northup to first win the seat in Kentucky’s largest city.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Yarmuth a “fierce and extraordinarily effective champion” for his constituents and people across the country.
Yarmuth said his focus for the remainder of his time in Congress will be on furthering his work on domestic policy.
Yarmuth said Congress can “still do much more for the American people.”
“And since that progress will unfortunately not be done on a bipartisan basis, my chairmanship of the House Budget Committee puts me in a pivotal position to help build an even better future for our citizens,” he said.
Yarmuth is the only Democrat serving in Kentucky’s six-member U.S. House delegation. Both of the state’s U.S. senators are Republicans.
The Louisville-area congressional district is one of the few remaining Democratic strongholds in Republican-leaning Kentucky.
State Sen. Morgan Mc- Garvey, the top-ranking Democrat in the GOP-controlled Kentucky Senate, quickly announced that he will run for Yarmuth’s seat next year.