WASHINGTON -- Rep. George Miller, a San Francisco Bay area liberal and dean of the California congressional delegation, announced Monday that he will retire when his term ends, closing a 40-year career on Capitol Hill.
The veteran Democrat’s departure will leave just one lawmaker, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), in the House who was elected in the Watergate class of 1974 to serve continuously in the chamber since then. Also, Miller’s retirement will further shake up the state’s 53-member delegation that underwent a large turnover in 2012 due to a spate of retirements and defeats.
“I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish on behalf of children, working people and the environment, in my district and for our country, especially passage of national health care reform,” Miller said in a statement. “Now, I look forward to one last year in Congress fighting the good fight and then working in new venues on the issues that have inspired me.”
The 68-year-old Miller, a confidant of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), has been a leading Democratic voice on education and labor issues. He is currently the top Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and is the chamber’s fifth most senior member.
When his party controlled Congress, he chaired the Natural Resources Committee and later the Committee on Education and Labor.
“In the majority, as chairman of three committees, and in the minority as well, he has written some of the most creative legislation of our time – on health care, education, child policy and labor rights, and also on the environment, energy and national parks,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Miller’s announcement comes after Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine) announced his retirement and amid speculation that Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also will step down when his term ends.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who lives with Miller and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in a Capitol Hill group house, tweeted, “Seeking roommate. 20 terms in the House & unmatched legislative record preferred. Lover of cold cereal a must.”
[For the Record, 1:16 p.m. PST Jan. 13: An earlier version of this post said Waxman would be the sole remaining member of the Watergate class of 1974 remaining in Congress]