Longtime California Rep. Grace Napolitano announced on Saturday that she will retire from Congress at the end of her current term.
“I am incredibly grateful for the people of the San Gabriel Valley and the people of Southeastern Los Angeles County for the trust they have placed in me to represent them for a quarter century,” the Democrat said in a statement.
A Texas native, Napolitano is currently serving his 13th term in the House, representing a majority Latino district in the Los Angeles area. He was first elected to the chamber in 1998 after six years in the California State Assembly and a stint as mayor of Norwalk, California, where he also served on the city council.
At 86, Napolitano is the oldest member of the House. New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell is also 86, but a month younger than Napolitano.
While control of the House could be up for grabs in 2024, Napolitano’s 31st Congressional District will likely remain uncontested for Republicans. He won reelection in 2022 with 59.5% of the vote in a redrawn district that Joe Biden would have carried by 31 points in 2020.
Napolitano has made mental health care a priority during his tenure in Washington and serves as co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus.
“When I went to the federal government, mental health issues were not discussed, families kept them hidden, and internal turmoil erupted among our children, parents, and adults. I am very happy to say that we are reducing the stigma of mental health, locally and nationally. We make it acceptable for people to talk about their mental health and get treatment,” he said on Saturday.
Napolitano is a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure panel. She is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and previously served as chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“When I came to Congress in 1999, there were 18 members in the Hispanic Caucus, and now there are 42 members,” he said.
Napolitano is the ninth Democrat and 12th member of the House to date to announce that they will not run for reelection in 2024. And he is not the only California Democrat to leave the chamber at the end of the term. Three of his colleagues – Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter and Barbara Lee – left their districts to seek the open Senate seat vacated by retired Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.