Washington state Democrat announces retirement

House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) announced his retirement on Wednesday. 

“Today, I announce my retirement from a career in public service that began over forty years ago,” he tweeted, with a link to a Medium post explaining his decision.

Heck, 67, said in the post that he will finish his term, but will not seek reelection.

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His retirement follows the conclusion of Intelligence Committee hearings regarding possible impeachable offenses committed by President Trump. Committee members released their impeachment report on Tuesday, just one day before the House Judiciary Committee began impeachment proceedings. 

During the Intelligence panel’s hearings, Heck gave a series of impassioned remarks in support of witnesses who came to testify and criticized the White House.

He particularly questioned why Trump would remove former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and “feel compelled to characterize you as ‘bad news’ and then to ominously threaten that you’re going to go through some things.”

Heck said in the post on Wednesday that he loved “the honor of serving on the House Intelligence Committee and being entrusted with our nation’s most sensitive security secrets,” but added that a part of him feels “discouraged.”

“The countless hours I have spent in the investigation of Russian election interference and the impeachment inquiry have rendered my soul weary,” he wrote. “I will never understand how some of my colleagues, in many ways good people, could ignore or deny the President’s unrelenting attack on a free press, his vicious character assassination of anyone who disagreed with him, and his demonstrably very distant relationship with the truth.”

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Heck said in the post that after he retires, he will write at least two books. 

“After more than 40 years of intermittent public service, know this: I got more out of it than I gave it, and I gave it all I had,” he added. 

Heck was first elected to the House in 2012. The Cook Political Report rates his district as solidly Democratic. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won his district in 2016 by more than 11 points.

He joins seven other Democratic House members who have either said they will not seek reelection or resigned from the chamber. 

–- Updated at 2:10 p.m. 

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Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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