California Democratic Representative Henry A. Waxman, 74, declared his retirement on Thursday, January 30, 2014 from the U.S. House after 40 years of achievements as a legislator in Congress. He announced his retirement from the U.S. House and he does not plan to run for his 21st term. The Democrat Congressman Waxman retires and leaves behind years of legislative accomplishments that made him one of the most prolific liberal legislators for 40 years.
Henry Arnold Waxman was born on September 12, 1939 in Los Angeles, California. He began his work in Congress in 1975 and left after 40 years of remarkable legislative achievement as a liberal lawmaker. Waxman served as the U.S Representative for California’s 33rd district. In 1961, Waxman received his bachelor’s degree in political science from University of California, Los Angeles. Then in 1964, he obtained his J.D from UCLA Law School. Waxman was a working lawyer before 1969; that year he won the California Assembly election and was there for three terms. He was the Co-founder of the Los Angeles County Young Democrats.
The Remarkable Journey
Waxman won the 1974 democratic election at the district level and entered the U.S. Congress. His journey as a Congressman began under President Gerald R. Ford just after the Watergate Election. He went on to become a prominent democratic lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives. His role on the House of Chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the Environment was very critical. He focused and tackled healthcare and environmental issues as a legislator. Waxman addressed health related issues such as AIDS, Universal Healthcare, Medicaid, Medicare, women’s health, reproductive rights, prescription medicine and environmental concerns such as pesticides, air and water pollution, and tobacco. He faced opposition for his efforts from Republicans and even from his own Democratic Party many times when he lobbied for passage of certain laws and bills. However, he succeeded in pressing for laws that addressed air pollution, tobacco, healthcare, drugs and better quality nursing homes for elderly. Furthermore, he cosponsored federal laws on the regulation of tobacco. The Democrat Congressman Waxman retires after contributing his tremendous efforts in passage of many laws.
In 2006, Waxman played a major role as the Chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; here he handled issues with federal policy implications that were neglected before. In 2009, Waxman spoke out on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that bars taxpayer money for abortions under the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act.
Waxman acknowledged his successful efforts in advancement of legislation that he wanted, and his 40 year journey as a Democratic Congressman went by rapidly.
Health care access for all was one of his “lifelong dreams” Waxman said. If he had decided to run again for election, he would have won, but he said it’s his time for retirement, and he desires move on. He also adds that he wants to move on to different part of his life, as he already spent 40 years in Congress and does not want to run for another term. Although, he assures that if he ran again he could win again and work with similar exuberance.
Waxman was the sixth senior legislator and veteran Congressman in the U.S. House. Factors that led to retirement of many influential congressional figures have been such Congress’ image, advanced age, partisanship (tea party extremism) and political frustration. Even though, Waxman said frustration is not the reason for his retirement, he does believe that legislator do function in partisan system while neglecting deep issues on science, as he could not advance his laws on climate change.
Nevertheless, Waxman told that these were not the actual reasons of his retirement as the Democratic Congressman in the U.S House. He ascertains that if he were to campaign for his 21st term, he could easily win all over again. However, he finds being in Congress is not the only option to advance public interest. There are other ways outside Congress which he wants to discover now.
Waxman served 20 terms in the Congress as the Democratic Representative from California. Waxman retires after years of successful contribution in legislative branch as the prolific Democrat Congressman.
By Iqra Amjad