(NECN) – Democratic Congressman John Olver of Massachusetts says he will retire at the end of his term.
The 75-year-old congressman announced he will step down from his western Massachusetts seat because of family circumstances.
His wife is battling cancer.
Olver’s decision comes as Massachusetts officials wrestle with a redistricting process that will reduce the state's congressional seats from 10 to nine.
Olver has held his seat since 1991 and was a member of the house appropriations panel. He is a former college professor.
The following official statements have been released commenting on his retirement:
“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," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. "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.”
“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," said John Kerry. “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.”
“We will miss John Olver as a legislative leader and effective advocate for Massachusetts, and I will miss him as a colleague," said Barney Frank. "His career exemplifies public service at its best.”
“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," said John Tierney. "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.”
"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," said Congressman Richard Neal. "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."
See what NECN's Jim Braude has to say about John Olver here.