Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said he is retiring from Congress after having served 15 terms since he was first elected in 1992, according to a Monday report from the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rush, a 75-year-old former Black Panther who also served as a Chicago alderman, told the Sun-Times that he decided to retire in recent weeks after a conversation with his 19-year-old grandson, Jonathan.
Chairman Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) listens during testimony at a House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy hearing in the Rayburn Building on July 14, 2020, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)
“I don’t want my grandchildren . . . to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” Rush told the Sun-Times.
“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,” he added.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. with Bobby Rush, D-Ill. after Freshman Class Portrait on Dec. 2, 1992. (Photo by Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)
Rush, who is also a minister, said he plans to stay active in the ministry and reach out to younger generations with his life story.
Rush co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers and became acting chairman after Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were killed in December 1969 during a police raid.
In a 2000 Democratic primary, Rush defeated former President Barack Obama, who was then a state senator running to represent Illinois’ 1st Congressional District.
In this April 2, 2004 file photograph, state Senator Barack Obama and other Illinois elected officials joined Gov. Rod Blagojevich as he signed a bill into law at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. (Photo by Milbert O. Brown/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
“Barack Obama went to Harvard and became an educated fool,” Rush said at the time. “Barack is a person who read about the civil rights protests and thinks he knows all about it.”
Rush would go on to endorse Obama in the 2008 presidential election and urge former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill Obama’s vacated Senate seat with an African American.
Rush is the 24th Democrat in the House of Representatives to announce they will not seek re-election amid widespread predictions that Republicans will take over the chamber in the 2022 midterm elections.
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