|Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
Confirming months of rumors, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced this morning that he will not run for re-election in the November mid-term elections.
From The New York Times:
Mr. Ryan said he will serve until the end of this Congress in January, which will mark 20 years in Congress. He insisted he will be “leaving this majority in good hands with what I believe is a very bright future.”
But his retirement, at the age of 48, is sure to kick off a succession battle for the leadership of the House Republican Conference, likely between the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, and the House majority whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana. And it could also trigger another wave of retirements among Republicans not eager to face angry voters in the fall and taking their cue from Mr. Ryan.
The announcement from Ryan marked the 40th House Republican to signal retirement ahead of what looks like a tough mid-term election cycle for the GOP. Only 19 Democrats have announced they won’t seek re-election.
Coming just an hour after Ryan, GOP Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida also declared his time in Congress would come to an end after the mid-terms.
Many political experts posit that after finally achieving his lifelong dream of tax reform, Ryan had no appetite to return to the minority should the Democrats retake control of the House this fall.
The front-runner for the GOP nomination for Ryan’s seat is apparently an anti-Semitic, white supremacist named Paul Nehlen. According to ThinkProgress.com he’s been kicked off Twitter and Breitbart for his offensive chatter.
After a 22-year tenure with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, lesbian activist Kate Kendell has announced she will step down as head of the San Francisco-based LGBTQ advocacy group.
From The Washington Blade:
Kendell said in a statement her decades on the job at the now leading LGBT organization “has widened my vistas and laid open my heart.”
“I am honored to have held this position and privileged to have experienced the countless moments of joy and awe that have forever changed our lives as LGBTQ individuals,” Kendell said. “I’ve been at the center of enormous NCLR victories, four at the U.S. Supreme Court, including the freedom to marry, a fight that seemed impossible to many when I became executive director 22 years ago. I feel enormous gratitude to have been a part of the NCLR legacy and part of the history of the fight — still on-going — for justice for all LGBTQ people.”
Kendell’s efforts over more than two decades can be seen across a wide swath of the LGBTQ landscape.
From the beginnings of same-sex marriage with then-Mayor Gavin Newsome of San Francisco to the California Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality; banning “ex-gay” therapy to fighting Donald Trump’s ban on transgender soldiers; and lots of LGBTQ legislation around the country.
Kendell’s colleagues in LGBTQ advocacy have nothing but praise for her decades of work:
|Congressman Trey Gowdy
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has announced he will join the stampede of fellow GOPers heading for the exits rather than face tough reelection terrain.
From The Washington Post:
A former prosecutor, Gowdy rose to prominence as chairman of a special House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in the State Department’s response.
“I will not be filing for reelection to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office; instead I will be returning to the justice system,” Gowdy said in a statement.
“Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system,” he said. “As I look back on my career, it is the jobs that both seek and reward fairness that are most rewarding.”
|Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan
Congressman John Conyers Jr. the longest-serving member of the House, announced today during a radio interview that he is retiring
Facing allegations of sexual misconduct, Conyers, who is also the longest-serving African-American in history, endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.
From The New York Times:
“I am retiring today,” Mr. Conyers said from a hospital in Michigan. “I am in the process of putting together my retirement plans. I will have more about that very soon.”
He continued to deny that he had harassed any of his former employees and said he did not know where the allegations came from.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,” Mr. Conyers said. “This too shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”
The decision sets up a battle within the Conyers family for his Detroit-area House seat. Ian Conyers, a Michigan state senator and the grandson of Mr. Conyers’s brother, said he also plans to run for the seat held by his 88-year-old great-uncle.
“His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health,” Ian Conyers, 29, said.
Listen to his announcement below.
Every now and then, I really love being surprised.
And by that, I’m referring to my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, which announced recently that it will be extending spousal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in other states.
The city currently offers health insurance to same-sex partners; however, by deciding to begin treating them as spouses, those married will now be eligible for other benefits, including pension plans. The change means the city will adhere to IRS rules issued in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor v. United States.
From the city’s employee newsletter:
The City of Fort Worth will be extending spousal benefits to same-sex couples beginning Feb. 1, 2015.
This change will allow the city to follow the IRS’s definition of “spouse” as defined for federal income taxes in the granting of survivor benefits.
Since the city’s retirement ordinance does not specifically define “spouse,” surviving spouses in a same-sex marriage will be eligible for survivor benefits if the survivor can prove, through documentation, that they were legally married to the employee/retiree in a state where same-sex marriage is legally recognized.