Rep. Niki Tsongas announces she will not seek re-election

LOWELL, Mass. — Rep. Niki Tsongas (MA-3) released a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing she will not seek re-election.

Her full statement is below:

“Ten years ago, I sought this seat because I was motivated by a lifelong commitment to public service and a desire to change people’s lives for the better.  I also felt, as I have often said, that women can’t win if women don’t run.  I’m proud that my election marked the first time in a quarter century that Massachusetts sent a woman to Congress.  Since that door cracked open, the Commonwealth has elected another female member of Congress, our first female US Senator, and in my district, 50% of our state legislators are now women, paving the way for even more women from our state to serve in political office bringing their voices to all we value as a country.

“In the ten years I’ve had the privilege of serving, I have worked to make a difference in the lives of the people of our district and the nation. My very first vote in Congress was cast to expand health care for women and children.  Given our family’s experience and knowing how critical access to affordable health coverage is, I helped pass life-saving health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act, and have fought to defend its protections for millions of Americans. 

“Most of all, I have wanted to make a difference for young people like my three daughters – to contribute what I could so that future generations would realize the promise of America.  I’m especially proud of the role I have been able to play in challenging the ways in which women are treated in the military, understanding that if you change the culture of one of our country’s rightly honored bedrock institutions, you can change a country.   That’s why I worked to address the multitude of ways that women in the military, committed to serving our country, have been marginalized. And, that’s why, year after year, I reached across the aisle and co-authored historic reforms to confront and blunt the inexcusable fact of sexual assault in the military and better support survivors by giving them essential legal tools to seek justice.  

“Bills I authored and that are now law create opportunities for manufacturers and pioneering small growth companies, like those that are so prevalent in this district, to create jobs and new products.  They allocated greater resources to community health centers that provide quality health care to some of our must vulnerable, ensuring the health of our communities.  And, they protect our natural and historic heritage and resources for our children and grandchildren.  I believe that our nation is stronger for its commitment to defending the rights of all people and recognizing our responsibility to future generations which is why I’ve been proud to be on the frontlines of addressing climate change, expanding LGBTQ rights, ensuring equal pay for equal work, protecting women’s reproductive rights, and providing comprehensive immigration reform.

“It has been my heartfelt honor to serve the people of this district over the past ten years and I have been guided all along by an extraordinary role model in my late husband Paul.  I am so grateful to those who have been there since day one, and to the many great Americans who I have met along the way, all of whom have served as my inspiration and support. 

“I have learned in life that there is a time for endings and for new beginnings.  After much thought, I have decided that this is one of those times.  The time feels right most especially because of my desire to spend more time enjoying and celebrating my wonderful and growing family.

“I look forward to finishing out my term, and over the next year and a half, I will dedicate each day to improving the quality of the lives of my fellow residents and the lives of countless people like them across our Commonwealth and nation.”