Niki Tsongas Not Running for Reelection in Congress: 'The Time Feels Right'

Frederick Owens
August 10, 2017

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, right, with state Sen.

Massachusetts Congresswoman Niki Tsongas announced Wednesday that she will not seek re-election to another term in 2018.

After her election - the first time in 25 years MA sent a woman to the US House - the Bay State also sent Katherine Clark of Melrose and Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats, to Washington, Tsongas continued. She credited him with inspiring her to public service, in which she has represented MA in Congress since 2007.

"I also felt, as I have often said, that women can't win if women don't run", she added.

Tsongas, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts's 3rd Congressional District in northeastern and central MA, largely covering the Merrimack Valley and including Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill.

"I'm proud that my election marked the first time in a quarter century that MA sent a woman to Congress", she wrote.

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"I'm proud that my election marked the first time in a quarter century that MA sent a woman to Congress", Tsongas said. That responsibility carried extra weight when she attempted to become the first woman elected to Congress from MA in 25 years.

Tsongas, 71, was elected to the House of Representatives 10 years ago - when her present district was then the state's 5th district - in a 2007 special election prompted by the departure of then-Rep.

Tsongas said she plans to finish out her term over the next year and a half.

"The time feels right most especially because of my desire to spend more time enjoying and celebrating my wonderful and growing family", she wrote. "It is the incremental steps, the gradual legislative victories and the steady fight for the families at home that have the greatest potential to help millions of Americans". As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Tsongas has been at the forefront in the fight against sexual assault in the military.

Tsongas's predecessor in Congress, current UMass system President Marty Meehan, said there are two ways to measure the success of members of Congress: Do they make a name for themselves on the national stage and do they deliver for their constituents at home. Tsongas won re-election by 38 points last fall and with her out of the race, a crowded Democratic primary appears likely.

Rep. Katherine Clark shared advice she learned from Tsongas, including "the idea that progress neither requires nor guarantees fanfare". "She is committed strongly and passionately to what she believes in".

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