Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) has reportedly decided not to seek re-election after her term ends at the end of this year, effectively retiring 17 years after she was first elected to Congress.
McCarthy, who has been on leave while undergoing cancer treatments, confirmed rumors of her departure Wednesday, several news outlets reported. Her staff had declined to discuss such rumors when contacted by the Press late last year.
“As a nation, more needs to be done to keep our citizens safe, while simultaneously protecting our Constitutional rights,” McCarthy said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. “Incidents involving gun violence over the last two years serve as yet another reminder that although modest progress has been made over the years, there is much more work to do.”
The 70-year-old nine-term congresswoman, one of five members of the House of Representatives from Long Island, made her name as a national gun-control advocate. The former nurse was inspired to run for office when a crazed gunman killed her husband and permanently wounded her son in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre.
“Carolyn McCarthy is not only a colleague, but also a dear friend,” said Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills). “She is a shining example of how one can translate tragedy into meaningful public service.”
Her retirement sets up a battle for the 4th Congressional District seat that stretches from New Hyde Park in the northwest corner to Jones Beach State Park to the southeast.
“Nassau County is losing a strong voice and advocate for the middle class who worked tirelessly,” the Nassau County Democratic Committee said in an online statement. “Her dedication, and most of all character, are unmatched.”