In a statement (after the jump), Moran lamented the sorry state of the budget process in Washington, but said he was hopeful that with the recent bipartisan budget deal, things are getting back on track.
“I prepare to leave Congress feeling very fortunate, grateful for what we’ve accomplished, and optimistic for the future of Northern Virginia, the Washington Metropolitan Region, and our nation,” he said.
The announcement puts Moran’s long-held Congressional seat — representing Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County — up for grabs. Already, electoral prognosticators are weighing in on what will likely be a political free-for-all among local Democrats.
Ben Tribbett, of the Not Larry Sabato blog, opined that the theoretical front runners in this year’s race to replace Moran include Del. Patrick Hope, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, former Alexandria Mayor Kerry Donley, Del. Charniele Herring, Del. Mark Sickles and Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay. Other names circulating around Twitter include Alexandria mayor Bill Euille, Del. Rob Krupicka and former Lieutenant Governor candidate Aneesh Chopra.
Moran, now in his 12th term in the House of Representatives, has been an outspoken advocate and an effective budget appropriator for his constituents and the causes he supported, including federal employees, transportation infrastructure, immigration reform, gay marriage, gun control, and animal rights. Moran’s Congressional tenure has also been marred by occasional controversies.
In 1995 he engaged in a “physical confrontation” with Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.). In 2000 he was accused of attacking an 8-year-old boy in an Alexandria parking lot. In 2006 he said he would “earmark the shit out of” his House appropriations subcommittee post to steer federal money to Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. In 2010 he said his Republican challenger, a retired Army officer, hadn’t “served or performed in any kind of public service.” In 2011 he was accused in a book of “insider trading” (but never prosecuted). In 2012 his son, Patrick, resigned from Moran’s campaign after being caught on hidden camera seemingly going along with a scheme to commit voter fraud.
Despite the controversies, Moran’s Capitol Hill staffers say he is a man truly dedicated to public service, who speaks his mind and does what he thinks is right.
“He is exactly what you want in your local representative — he loves the people of the 8th District and is in politics for the right reasons,” said Anne Hughes, a former press secretary. “Moran is a fierce advocate for Northern Virginia and I know will be remembered not only for his contributions to the region, but also for being on the right side of history — from Iraq War to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — and speaking out loudly for those who can’t speak for themselves.”
“I have enormous respect for Moran, he leaves giant shoes to fill,” Hughes added. “And I will especially miss watching his raucous floor speeches.”
State Sen. Ebbin said in a statement that Moran “has represented the progressive values of the people of Northern Virginia.”
“He has been an advocate for our environment, a fighter for equality, and a strong champion of universal health care and the Affordable Care Act,” Ebbin said. “Northern Virginia is a better place to live and work because of Jim Moran’s leadership. I am proud to have been represented by him in Congress, and to have represented him in Richmond. After his decades of service to our community, I wish him a long and happy retirement.”
The full statement from Moran’s office about the Congressman’s retirement, and a statement from President Obama, after the jump.
The statement from President Obama:
In his twenty-three years in the United States Congress, Jim Moran has pushed to create jobs and economic opportunity for hardworking Virginians and has consistently demonstrated a commitment to growing a strong American economy. And because of Jim’s leadership, our brave service members and veterans are better protected, our civil service is stronger, and our air and water are cleaner and safer. Michelle and I thank Congressman Moran for his service, and we wish him and his family the very best in the future.
The Moran press release:
Representative Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee and senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that he will not seek re-election.
“After 35 years as a public servant, as Mayor of Alexandria, and for the past 23 as a member of the House of Representatives, it’s time to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next challenge. It’s been an honor to represent Northern Virginia. I couldn’t be more fortunate to have spent my career working with such wonderful people trying to make this one of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family.
“My chosen role in the U.S. Congress has been as an appropriator. I first served as staff to the Senate Appropriations Committee under Chairman Warren Magnuson in my 20s. I’ve seen the appropriations process at its height, and more recently its nadir. When the appropriations process is working, the government functions on behalf of the people, the economy is stronger, and the country overall becomes more inclusive, egalitarian and productive.
“With the Murray-Ryan agreement, and the work Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey, and their outstanding Appropriations’ staff exerted to reach the omnibus budget deal we will vote on this week, we’ve achieved a bipartisan agreement that deserves support. It represents a budgetary cease-fire and I hope a historic turning point in getting this necessary funding process back on track.
“To my family, friends, staff and supporters, thank you for all you have meant me over the past four decades in political office. What has kept me motivated all these years is serving you and our community. I prepare to leave Congress feeling very fortunate, grateful for what we’ve accomplished, and optimistic for the future of Northern Virginia, the Washington Metropolitan Region, and our nation.”
Congressman Moran first ran for Alexandria City Council in 1979. In 1984, he successfully ran for Mayor of the City, serving in that position until running for Congress in 1990, winning an up-hill race against the favored incumbent Republican.
During his time in Congress, he has been a leader on the Appropriations Committee, bringing billions in economic investment to Northern Virginia to assist underserved communities, build up the region’s transportation infrastructure and create thousands of jobs, particularly in the defense and intelligence communities. He played a major role in funding the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, Metro to Dulles, widening of Route 1 to Fort Belvoir and construction of numerous local road, bridge, environmental and public transit projects. The front page of the Washington Post this past November cited the fact that “companies based in Representative James P. Moran’s district in Northern Virginia reaped $43 billion in federal contracts – roughly as much as the entire state of Texas.”
A vocal, active champion for progressive policies, he was one of the very few who opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in the early 1990’s before it was politically popular to do so and championed eliminating the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military. He has strongly supported a woman’s reproductive rights throughout his career, and is a staunch supporter of stronger gun safety laws. He chairs the Animal Protection Caucus which has helped enact bans on animal fighting, horse slaughter, animal abuse videos and the sale of cat and dog fur. On the environment, he has been a relentless voice for strong and sustainable policies, both regionally and nationally. He led the opposition to drilling off the Atlantic Coast, has fought to protect the EPA and Interior Department from deep and debilitating budget cuts and successfully pressed for funding to address endocrine disrupting chemicals in the Potomac River.
An outspoken opponent of the Iraq War from the very beginning, Moran helped lead opposition in Committee and on the floor to what he deemed a war of choice whose outcome would not strengthen American security but rather align Iraq with the Shiite dominated Iran. He authored the “Strategy for Success” amendment to the FY’05 Supplemental Appropriations bill which, for the first time, required the Pentagon to provide a detailed assessment of US and Iraqi military capabilities was required of the Pentagon, the results of which strengthened arguments for ending the war. And when our soldiers began returning from the battlefield, he championed funding for PTSD research, treatment and care, cancer research due to hazardous exposure on the battlefield and traumatic brain injury treatment through the Defense Department budget.
Federal employees have a perennial advocate for the issues affecting their livelihood in Moran. He continues to champion federal pay parity, authored with Congressman Wolf the bill to ensure furloughed civil servants during this year’s shutdown received back pay, sponsored the law allowing unused sick leave to count towards retirement annuities, and a number of other measures strengthening federal worker benefits, including introducing and funding the first transit subsidies. Under fire from conservatives, he took to the House floor time and again to defend what he deemed the “greatest civil service in the world.”
Moran has matched these principles with an understanding that to achieve progressive priorities we need a strong economy. In 1996, he co-founded the New Democrats, today one of the largest caucuses in the House. Through the New Dems, he has supported free and fair trade that has been an economic driver for our export heavy region, and has been active on a range of issues promoting a stronger, center-left vision for our nation’s economy.
Mr. Moran is a father of two sons and two daughters and the grandfather of four. He lives in the Del Ray community of Alexandria where he got his first start in politics nearly four decades ago.