New Dem Chair Kuster Announces Retirement Following 2024 Election

March 27, 2024 by Dan McCue
New Dem Chair Kuster Announces Retirement Following 2024 Election
Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., as seen in the video announcing her decision to retire. (Screengrab from video posted on X)

CONCORD, N.H. — Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., who, among other things, is the current chair of the New Democrat Coalition in the House, revealed Wednesday that she will not seek reelection to Congress this year.

In a lengthy statement released by her office, Kuster gives no specific reason for leaving, other than saying, “I always said I was not going to stay in Congress forever.”

Instead, the lawmaker preferred to dwell on what she felt she’s accomplished since she was first elected to Congress in 2012.

“As founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, I have pushed for comprehensive legislation to address this crisis and expand access to treatment and recovery services,” she wrote. 

“As founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, I have worked across the aisle to tackle the scourge of sexual violence and equip survivors with the support they need to recover,” she continued. “As chair of the New Democrat Coalition, I have helped bridge the partisan divide and find common sense solutions to the biggest issues facing our country. While there is still more to be done, we have made great progress.”

Kuster described her 12 years in Congress as being many things, among them, “rewarding, frustrating, inspiring and challenging. 

“But, more than anything, it has been an honor,” she said to her constituents. 

“I have had the chance to meet directly with the people who make New Hampshire such an incredible place to live, work and raise a family,” Kuster said. “From our small business owners to our first responders, farmers, teachers, veterans, health care providers, seniors, and local leaders, every conversation has been insightful and has guided my efforts in Washington.”

Kuster’s tenure has been marked by a penchant for bipartisanship.

As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, she helped protect veteran business owners, improve veterans’ access to quality health care, increase service member pay and address sexual assault in the armed forces. 

As a member of the Agriculture Committee, she helped negotiate two critical Farm Bills, delivering key resources for farmers, foresters, fishermen and rural communities across the country. 

She also helped secure critical federal resources to strengthen New Hampshire’s food supply chain and support the agricultural industry.

As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, she helped steer the country and its health care system through the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the safe and equitable distribution of vaccines, expanding access to telehealth services and supporting frontline workers. 

On the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, she helped expand access to high-quality broadband in rural communities. 

On the Energy Subcommittee, she pushed for legislation to expand clean energy production and lower energy prices for American families. And, on the Health Subcommittee, she advanced critical bipartisan legislation to address the addiction and mental health crisis.

“As I look to the future, I am excited by the work and opportunities that lie ahead,” Kuster said, adding that she will continue serving the people of New Hampshire, and as chair of the New Democrat Coalition, until the end of her term in January 2025.

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., responded to Kuster’s decision by saying she has “exemplified her family’s generations-long legacy of service to the people of New Hampshire and our country.”

“Annie has always been an authentic fighter for the communities she represents, addressing their challenges and struggles with intellect, compassion and persistence in order to bring about meaningful change,” Jeffries continued.

“As the chair of the New Democrat Coalition, Annie has ably led one of the largest ideological caucuses in the House, spearheading their efforts to ensure we build an economy that works for every American,” he said. 

“The common thread in Annie’s rich Congressional record is her incredible ability to bring people together and build bipartisan bridges in order to solve problems,” Jeffries said. “A classmate and true friend of mine, Annie has been a tremendous source of strength to me and countless others in the House Democratic Caucus family. She will be sorely missed in the next Congress. I wish her and her family the best in this new chapter.”

House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., also released a statement, in which she said Kuster has been a model “of kind, devoted, results-first public service.” 

“I am profoundly grateful for all she has brought to Washington — as a highly effective advocate for New Hampshire, as a champion for women in the halls of power and as a dear friend since my earliest days in the Capitol,” Clark said.

“Every member of our House Democratic Caucus has benefited from having Annie as a colleague. Whether leading the charge against the opioid crisis or lending a voice to survivors of sexual assault, she has strengthened our fight for a healthier, safer, more just country,” she continued. “And amid rising extremism across the aisle, she has ensured the New Democrats remain a force for finding common ground and getting things done on behalf of the American people.

“While Annie’s colleagues will miss her wise counsel, warm humor and generous friendship, the work she has done here will continue to reverberate in New Hampshire and across the country for generations to come. I will miss Annie dearly, and I’m truly grateful for her service and friendship,” Clark said.

According to WMUR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, N.H., Kuster’s announcement sent “a shockwave” through New Hampshire’s political community this morning, which also creating an open race in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

The district covers a broad and very diverse portion of the state, extending from Nashua in the populous southern region of New Hampshire all the way up to the more rural area abutting the Canadian border.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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  • 2024 election
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