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2 more House lawmakers announce exits, marking retirement record

Two more House members announced their heading for the exits Tuesday, adding to a wave of congressional retirements fresh off a chaotic 10 weeks for the chamber.

Longtime California Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo said she will retire from her Silicon Valley seat after this term in Congress, opening a spot to represent the safe blue district for the first time in 30 years. And Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), who leads the Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee, announced he’d be leaving Congress to head Youngstown State University after being offered the job by the school’s board of trustees.

“This was an extremely difficult decision,” Johnson said in a statement. “This is not a goodbye, however. I will continue serving in the House for several more months, and you will see no let up.”

“I’m very proud of the body of bipartisan work I’ve been able to achieve on your behalf in the Congress,” Eshoo said in her announcement video. “As my last year in Congress approaches, I will continue my work with vigor and unswerving commitment to you.”

The decisions by Eshoo and Johnson continues a flood of retirements, with November marking the most announcements in any single month since at least 2011. There have been at least 12 to date — not counting several other members like Reps. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) pursuing bids for other elected offices — and still more than a week to go in November.

Eshoo is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the top Democrat on its health subcommittee. Eshoo narrowly lost the top Democratic slot on the committee in a hotly-contested battle with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) back in 2014. She said in her announcement that 66 of her bills have been signed into law by five presidents.

Eshoo is the second longtime ally of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi to depart Congress after Rep. Jackie Speier’s (D-Calif.) retirement at the start of this Congress.

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