Max Baucus Officially Announces Plan to Retire, Won’t Seek Reelection in 2014
Update: 10:30 a.m., April 23: Max Baucus' office has released the following official statement concerning his retirement:
Serving the people of Montana has been the greatest honor and privilege of my life. Over the past 35 years I have been lucky to go from working for just under 800,000 of the world’s best bosses to more than a million – and I am grateful to each and every one of them for the opportunity they have given me.
When I first asked my hero and mentor Mike Mansfield whether I should run for U.S. Senate, he told me it would take a lot of hard work, a lot of shoe leather, and a bit of luck. In the next year and a half, I want to spend all my hard work, shoe leather and luck working for the people of Montana instead of on campaigning.
So, after much consideration and many conversations with my wife Mel and our family, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2014. I will serve out my term, and then it will be time to go home to Montana.
But, I’m not turning out to pasture because there is important work left to do, and I intend to spend the year and a half getting it done. Our country and our state face enormous challenges – rising debt, a dysfunctional tax code, threats to our outdoor heritage, and the need for more good-paying jobs.
I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I will double down on legislation to permanently protect the American side of the North Fork watershed and keep the Rocky Mountain Front the way it is for future generations. I am going to put everything I’ve got into leaving Montana with strong Highway and Farm Bills that support jobs in our state. And I’m going full steam ahead to put on the best Economic Development Summit yet.
At a national level, I will continue to work on simplifying and improving the tax code, tackling the nation’s debt, pushing important job-creating trade agreements through the Senate, and implementing and expanding affordable health care for more Americans.
Deciding not to run for re-election was an extremely difficult decision. After thinking long and hard, I decided I want to focus the next two years on serving Montana unconstrained by the demands of a campaign. Then, I want to come home and spend time with Mel, my son Zeno, and our family enjoying the Montana public lands we’ve fought hard to keep open and untarnished.
Above all else, I want Montanans to know how grateful and humbled I am to have had the privilege of serving them, and I look forward to working with them as I continue to serve the state I love for the next year and a half.”
According to his staff, the decision was not a political decision or a health related decision. A press release from Baucus' office says his Montana priorities in the next year and a half include:
· North Fork Watershed Protection Act
· Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act
· 6th Montana Economic Development Summit
· Tax Reform
· Passing a strong Farm Bill
· Renewing the Highway Bill
Senator Baucus will return to Helena for a public announcement on Friday.
Baucus is 72 and has held the Senate seat for nearly 30 years after winning reelection six times.
The unofficial announcement comes just days after Baucus was attacked from the left by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) for his 'no' vote on gun control.
After the retirement announcement, the PCCC released this statement:
"Good bye, Senator K Street," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the PCCC. "Max Baucus has a history of voting with corporate interests and not the interests of Montana voters -- taking millions from Wall Street, insurance companies, and lobbyists. Montana will finally have a chance to have a senator with its best interests at heart, and we hope Brian Schweitzer jumps into the race immediately."
Baucus has been headline news recently during a rather frank discussion over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. During the discussion, Baucus voiced fears that the implementation could be a "train-wreck," a surprising note from one of the legislation's designers.
Baucus' official website does not comment on the resignation yet. As soon as an official statement from the Baucus campaign is available it will be posted here.