Long-Time Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush Retires

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Fifteen-term Democratic Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush will retire following the 2022 midterms, he told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday.

Rush, age 75, cited a desire to spend more time with his family in an interview.

“I don’t want my grandchildren … to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” he said. “I want them to know me on an intimate level, know something about me and I want to know something about them. I don’t want to be a historical figure to my grandchildren.”

Entering Congress in 1992, Rush sits on the Energy and Commerce and Agriculture committees. He chairs the Energy subcommittee. (RELATED: Congressman Accuses Chicago Police Of Relaxing, Eating Popcorn In His Office During Riots)

Rush was a founding member of the Illinois Black Panther Party, but left the group in 1974, shortly after graduating from Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

“We started glorifying thuggery and drugs,” he said of the Panthers in a 2000 interview with People magazine.

Despite his role in the militant group, Rush became a prominent advocate for gun control after his son was murdered in a robbery gone bad.

Rush is the 35th member of the House of Representatives to decline to run for re-election in 2022, and the 24th Democrat. He is also the third member of Illinois’ congressional delegation to retire, joining Democrat Cheri Bustos and Republican Adam Kinzinger.

Rush’s seat, Illinois’ First, includes Chicago’s South Side and surrounding suburbs. It is expected to remain in Democratic hands even after Rush’s retirement, following redistricting.