Whitfield says he will not seek a 12th term in Congress - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Whitfield says he will not seek a 12th term in Congress

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield says he will not seek a 12th term.

Whitfield made the announcement in a news release Tuesday afternoon. The Hopkinsville Republican has been in Congress for 20 years. His term ends in January 2017.

Whitfield was a Democratic member of the state House of Representatives in the late 1970s before switching to the Republican party to run for Congress in 1994. Whitfield said he is most proud of helping establish a federal health benefit program for the workers of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and creating a national forest at the Land Between The Lakes.

Whitfield is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee on allegations he allowed his wife to lobby his staff on behalf of her employer, The Humane Society. Whitfield has denied the allegations and called them politically motivated.

In the statement, Whitfield did not give a reason for his decision to step aside.

“Representing the people of the 1st District for 21 years has been an honor. I will cherish forever the countless opportunities to work with them to nurture and strengthen the 35 counties comprising Kentucky’s First District.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Whitfield as a political trailblazer.

“Ed Whitfield was the first Republican elected to the First District, making him a trailblazer for the Republican Party in Western Kentucky. And it is thanks to his hard work and dedication that we can today celebrate the growth of a robust two-party system in the western region of the Bluegrass State,” McConnell said in a statement.

Here is Whitfield’s complete statement:

“Representing the people of the 1st District for 21 years has been an honor,” said Whitfield. “I will cherish forever the countless opportunities to work with them to nurture and strengthen the 35 counties comprising Kentucky’s First District.

“Among many memorable achievements, I am particularly proud of helping to establish the Federal Health Benefit Program for employees of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant; creating a National Forest at Land between the Lakes; providing much needed funding for our troops at Fort Campbell; promoting the utilization of our abundant fossil fuels; and ensuring the humane treatment of animals.

“My staff in Kentucky and Washington D.C. has been superb. Their commitment to excellence allowed me to serve the people of the 1st District to the best of my ability.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the U.S. House and Senate for the many courtesies they extended to me. To Connie, my wife, my heartfelt thanks for her resilience and her many contributions. I also thank my mother for her unwavering support.

“While many Americans are frustrated with the institution of Congress, I still believe that politics is a worthy vocation and I know many men and women of character will always be willing to serve.”

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Politics is and will always be an honorable way to serve.”

Below is the statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I first want to commend my good friend Congressman Ed Whitfield on his outstanding career in the United States House of Representatives. Elected in 1994, Ed has delivered for Kentucky at every turn, whether it was championing and protecting the Land Between the Lakes, helping the employees of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and their families, or working to support our troops at Fort Campbell. As Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, Ed has also been an indispensable ally in pushing back against the Obama Administration’s War on Coal.

“Ed Whitfield was the first Republican elected to the First District, making him a trailblazer for the Republican Party in Western Kentucky. And it is thanks to his hard work and dedication that we can today celebrate the growth of a robust two-party system in the western region of the Bluegrass State.

“Ed’s leadership and more than two decades of steadfast service to his constituents and our Commonwealth will continue to be an inspiration to myself and the entire Kentucky delegation.

“His long career is a clear and lasting testament to all the good that can be accomplished in a life of public service. We will miss him in the Capitol.”

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