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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Congressman Heath Shuler Retires
Cecil Bothwell Not Surprised

Congressman Heath Shuler announced today that he would be retiring from Congress at the end of this term. [WaPo]

Shuler's decision means that, provided no one else jumps in the race...and I have been assured that someone will, Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Cecil Bothwell was in Franklin, NC at a previously scheduled town hall meeting in the Macon County Library tonight and I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions regarding the impending retirement of Congressman Shuler, and here is video of that conversation:

I recorded the town hall meeting and gave Cecil the opportunity to make a campaign pitch on video. I will place those videos in another blog post sometime tomorrow.

Here is the full text of the announcement by Congressman Heath Shuler of his decision to not seek reelection and retire from Congress at the conclusion of his third term in Jan 2013:

Rep. Shuler Statement on Retirement

Last week I spent a lot of time at home with my family discussing the possibility of running for governor of North Carolina. This time of reflection and prayer gave us the opportunity to talk about the best course of action for us as a family moving forward. It was during this time that I reached the decision not to seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.

This was not an easy decision. However, I am confident that it is the right decision. It is a decision I have weighed heavily over the past few months. I have always said family comes first, and I never intended to be a career politician. I am ready to refocus my priorities and spend more time at home with my wife Nikol and two young children.

I have experienced no greater honor than serving the people of North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District over the past five years. I am proud of the work that my office has done to give Western North Carolina a voice in Congress and make life better for the people who entrusted me with the privilege of representing them in Washington. I am also proud of the work we have accomplished with the Blue Dog Coalition to put our country on a sound fiscal path and promote civility and common-sense solutions amid the divisive, highly-partisan political climate in Washington.

Though my time in Congress will come to an end after this year, my work to move our state and country forward will not. Reducing our $15 trillion national debt and crafting bipartisan solutions to the many problems facing our nation remain my highest priorities. Leaving Congress will give me the opportunity to focus my time and energy on these initiatives without the constant demands of a re-election campaign.

I am grateful for the many close friendships I have made with my colleagues in the Blue Dog Coalition and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. I thank the people of Western North Carolina for placing their faith and confidence in me as their elected representative. I thank my colleagues and mentors in Washington who have helped me along the way. Most of all, I want to thank Nikol, Navy, Island, my entire family, friends, supporters, and staff, without whom my career in Congress would not have been possible.  May God bless you all and continue to bless Western North Carolina. 

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