WARWICK, R.I. — Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) issued the following statement today after announcing he will not be seeking re-election:
“For the last 37 years, I have woken up every day with one goal in mind: serving the people of Rhode Island. After all, I love this state, and I love the people who live here. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to represent Rhode Islanders as a delegate and secretary to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention, as State Representative, as Secretary of State, and now, as a United States Congressman.
“I know that the last several years have been difficult for Rhode Island families. The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted unimaginable loss upon so many. Our democracy has been tested in ways we never could have guessed. At times, it has felt like the fabric of our nation was coming undone at the seams. But no matter the challenge, we’ve always been in this fight together.
“Nearly 40 years ago, a tragic accident left me paralyzed. My dreams of becoming a police officer were crushed, and I was forced to dream new dreams, and relearn how to perform almost every daily task. Yet during my hour of need, Rhode Islanders rallied behind me, and I was inspired to give back to the community that gave me so much by pursuing a career in public service. Encouraged by my family’s unending love and my faith, that 16-year-old from Warwick became the first quadriplegic ever elected to Congress.
“Like I promised when I first ran for office, I have done my best to stand up for you and your families. But after serving the people of Rhode Island for over 3 decades – including 11 terms and nearly 22 years in Congress — today, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for elected office this November.
“I am so proud of all that we have been able to accomplish together. I worked tirelessly to protect and advance the rights of Americans with disabilities, and I’ve worked across the aisle to invest in job training, apprenticeships, and career and technical education.
“I spoke up for our nation’s foster youth, who are too often forgotten and left behind, because every child deserves a permanent, loving place to call home and the opportunity to succeed.
“I led the efforts in Congress to strengthen our cybersecurity, and I stewarded dozens of Cyberspace Solarium Commission recommendations into law, including the establishment of the first-ever National Cyber Director.
“I fought to defend our national security and advocate for Rhode Island’s local shipbuilders, who produce the world’s finest nuclear submarines right here at home in Rhode Island’s Second District. I have sought to procure the finest, cutting-edge technologies for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Guardians, and Marines, so that our women and men in uniform never enter a fair fight.
“I also worked to fulfill our promises to our warfighters once they returned home, protecting the benefits they’ve earned and investing in mental health care, improving the VA system, and ending veteran homelessness once and for all. I always worked to serve them as well as they served us.
“And when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I helped secure billions of dollars in relief for Rhode Island, to keep our people healthy, our small businesses afloat, and our schools open. I am eternally grateful for of our frontline healthcare workers and emergency personnel who have sacrificed so much throughout this crisis.
“Looking back, I’ll always be most proud of my vote for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which lowered health care costs for everyone and secured coverage for millions of uninsured Americans. It is the most significant piece of legislation I ever supported. And I’ll always cherish the moment that I became the first Congressman in a wheelchair to preside over the House of Representatives as Speaker Pro Tempore, as we marked the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“I have not come to this decision lightly, but it is time for me to chart a new course, which will allow me to stay closer to home and spend more time with my family and friends. And while I don’t know what’s next for me just yet, whatever I do will always be in service of Rhode Island. I want to thank my colleagues in the congressional delegation, Jack, Sheldon, and David, for their enduring friendship and support. I could not have asked for better colleagues to work with on behalf of our great state. I also want to thank the dozens of dedicated staff members who have served in my office, as well as my friends and my entire family, especially my mom, brothers, and sister for standing by my side every step of this journey.
“I am so grateful to each of you. But most of all, I want to thank the people of Rhode Island, for putting their faith and trust in me to be your voice all these years. I will cherish the time I was blessed to serve you.
“Thank you, Rhode Island.”