TOP STORY: Three Congressmen announced today that they are retiring, and the decisions have 2014 implications. Republican Reps. Frank Wolf (VA) and Tom Latham (IA) announced they would not seek re-election, while Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (UT) announced he would not as well. Wolf’s district was won by Mitt Romney by one percentage point in 2012 and Latham’s district has a Cook Political Rating of R+1. Jim Matheson won a close race over Mia Love in 2012, and she had already announced a rematch. If elected, Love would be the first African-American Republican woman elected to the House of Representatives.
OFF THE PRESSES:
When I launched my first campaign in 1999, I knew that the arc of my public service would have many chapters. It has been a tremendous privilege to serve the people of Utah during my time in the United States House of Representatives, but my time in the House should not be the sum total of my service. Today, I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the House of Representatives.
Public service has been integral to my life for as long as I can remember. I was raised to value the honor in public service and the responsibility of holding the public trust. My time in Congress has only strengthened these beliefs.
I take the role of representative seriously and intend to conclude this chapter of my service to our state in the same way I have always approached my job. You can count on me to work hard, to solve problems, to achieve progress and to put Utah first. While at the end of 2014 my tenure in the House of Representatives will come to an end, my duty to our state and our country will undoubtedly continue.
There are many people who have shared this incredible journey who have my respect and gratitude. I want to thank the people from every corner of our state who placed their trust in my stewardship. It has been a great honor to serve as your representative. I also want to thank my staff for their commitment, loyalty, and hard work. Finally, I want to thank my wife Amy and my sons Will and Harris for their love, support and shared belief in the importance of service.
“I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. I thank my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for 34 years.
“As a follower of Jesus, I am called to work for justice and reconciliation, and to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. I plan to focus my future work on human rights and religious freedom – both domestic and international – as well as matters of the culture and the American family. My passion for these issues has been influenced by the examples of President Ronald Reagan, former Congressmen Jack Kemp and Tony Hall, Chuck Colson, and the life of 18th century Member of Parliament William Wilberforce.
“I want to thank the many excellent former and current members of my staff who have helped me serve the people of the 10th District. I am also grateful to my wife, Carolyn, and my family, who have faithfully stood by me all these many years.”
WH-TECH MEETING: President Obama and Vice President Obama met today with several tech leaders to discuss the NSA and the problems with HealthCare.Gov. There were executives from Netflix, AT&T, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. It was announced after the meeting that Kurt DelBene, who was a Microsoft executive with the Office division, would succeed Jeff Zients as the head of the HealthCare.Gov improvements.
SIDE SPORTS: President Obama announced the delegation for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Leading the opening ceremonies delegation is Janet Napolitano, the former Secretary of Homeland Secretary. The delegation includes an openly gay member, Dr. Billie Jean King. The closing ceremony delegation includes another gay athlete, Caitlin Cahow. Russia passed anti-LGBT legislation earlier this year, basically making it a crime to talk about the LGBT community. This could be seen as a jab at Russia, for the anti-LGBT legislation and for allowing Edward Snowden to stay in the country for a year.
HOLIDAY READING: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has released his annual Wastebook. The book details several projects that Coburn describes as waste, including almost a million dollars to research romance in culture, and about $325,000 to find out that women find their marriages more satisfying if they calm down faster. However, often times these projects are defended by those receiving the money. One example of this would be how Sen. Coburn describes the millions of dollars spent on the Affordable Care Act website, which was glitch-plagued for a period of time.