BOSTON (CBS) – Congressman John Olver plans to retire at the end of next year.
Olver released the following statement Wednesday:
“Since 1991, I have had the privilege and great honor of representing the people of the First District of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district has grown much larger from the district as it was in 1991, and these twenty years have been tumultuous years for America.
Last December, I announced that I intended to seek to continue my congressional service beyond 2012. Over the past six months, circumstances within my family have substantially changed, and I now find I must reconsider my earlier decision.
Therefore, I will retire from the House of Representatives at the conclusion of the current (112th) Congress.”
His wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the Spring.
The 1st Congressional District, includes Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester and Middlesex Counties.
He is currently the only member from the Massachusetts delegation serving on the House Appropriations Committee.
Olver began his career in public service career in 1969 in the Massachusetts State House. He was elected to the state Senate in 1973 and served 18 years.
He was sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives to complete the term of the late Rep. Silvio O. Conte in 1991.
Prior to serving in the State House, Olver was a chemistry professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
President Obama released a statement praising Olver saying, “Michelle and I join the people of Massachusetts in thanking Congressman Olver for his service, and we wish John, his wife Rose, and daughter Martha the very best in the future.”
Congressman Michael Capuano released the following statement:
“John is an effective legislator and a good friend. He has represented the First District of Massachusetts with great dedication and I know his services will be missed. I wish John and his family all the best. It has been a pleasure working with him on behalf of the people of Massachusetts.”
Senator John Kerry released the following statement:
“My friend and longtime colleague John Olver is a quiet man who lets his large accomplishments speak for him. He’s a public servant of principle who has served western Massachusetts with great skill and deep passions belied by his unassuming and humble demeanor. All of those qualities are a great credit to this remarkable public servant. He’s been a congressional workhorse with the heart of an Amherst activist.
“Last June I was honored to join John in Holyoke to celebrate his accomplishments over two decades in Congress. Today we celebrate him again and the difficult decisions he’s made, and we thank his beloved wife Rose and their daughter Martha for sharing him with the District and with Massachusetts for so many years.”
Senator Scott Brown said, “I thank Congressman Olver for his decades of service to the people of Massachusetts. Gail and I will keep Rose and the whole Olver family in our prayers.”
Governor Deval Patrick released this statement:
“Throughout his career, John Olver has served as a bastion of support for his constituents, friends and family in western Massachusetts. While his leadership in Congress will be missed, I know that his advocacy and passion for public service will continue, and Diane and I wish him the best.”
Statement from Congressman Richard Neal:
“John Olver has been my good friend and colleague in the House for more than 20 years. He has earned a reputation for being an honest, sincere and intelligent representative who always made the people of western and central Massachusetts his top priority. His work on the Appropriations Committee, where he helped direct millions of dollars to our region, will be remembered for years to come. And he remained true to his Democratic values and principles throughout his career in politics. As he retires to Amherst, I wish him and his family the very best.”
Congressman John Tierney says:
“It has been a pleasure and honor to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with my friend, John Olver. For more than twenty years in Congress, John has fought for the residents of western Massachusetts and worked tirelessly on issues of importance to them. As much as anyone I’ve encountered in Congress, John understands how critical it is to make investments in our transportation infrastructure so as to strengthen our economy, create jobs, and keep our country competitive. Communities across the Commonwealth, including many in the district I represent, have modernized and improved transportation systems thanks to John’s hard work and leadership. I wish him the very best in his retirement.”
Congressman Barney Frank says:
“We will miss John Olver as a legislative leader and effective advocate for Massachusetts, and I will miss him as a colleague. His career exemplifies public service at its best.”
Congressman Ed Markey says:
“Congressman John Olver is a public service powerhouse, a transportation titan and an amazing appropriator who always delivers for his constituents. He is one of the key reasons Massachusetts has such an effective delegation in Congress. John is an invaluable member of our team, and the First District has an incredible advocate for its constituents, industries and way of life. He has worked tirelessly to protect the environment, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, invest in transportation, and represent Massachusetts’ interests on the Appropriations Committee. John has had a truly distinguished career in public service, and we will miss him immensely. Personally, John has been a valued friend and colleague, and I wish him and his family all the best.”
House Speaker Robert DeLeo says:
“Congressman Olver is a dedicated public servant who has faithfully represented his constituents in Western Massachusetts for more than 40 years – including two terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. I thank him, his wife Rose, and his family for their service. As a member of Congress, and as a senior member on the House Committee on Appropriations, he has been an important advocate for his region and his state.”
Under redistricting required by the 2010 Census, Massachusetts will lose one seat in the House of Representatives.
The Chairmen of the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting released a statement saying,”This is a dramatic change, and the committee in the coming days will assess the impact on Congressional Redistricting.”
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.