WASHINGTON -- Rep. Henry Waxman of California, a liberal power broker for 40 years and a top ally of Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday he will retire at the end of this term.
Waxman, 74, was first elected in 1974 as part of the post-Watergate class of Democratic reformers.
"Today, I am announcing that I have run my last campaign," he said in a statement.
"I first ran for office because I believe government can be a force for good in people's lives," Waxman said. "I have held this view throughout my career in Congress. And I will leave the House of Representatives with my conviction intact.
"I have learned that progress is not always easy," he said. "It can take years of dedication and struggle. But it's worth fighting for."
Waxman has his fingerprints on a wide array of legislation dealing with the environment, energy, health care and consumer protection. The Democrat can count among his achievements tougher pollution controls in the Clean Air Act, funding for AIDS research, and pushing for greater scrutiny of tobacco companies.
When Democrats were in the House minority, Waxman used his perch on the Government Reform Committee to beat back GOP-led investigations of Bill Clinton and became one of the Democratic president's staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill.