WA Republican Congresswoman won’t seek re-election

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., announced Thursday that she will not seek re-election to Congress.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, of Spokane, is a former state lawmaker who has represented eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District since 2004

Randy Bracht
The Center Square Washington

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., announced Thursday that she will not seek re-election to Congress.

Rodgers, 54, of Spokane, is a former state lawmaker who has represented eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District since 2004. Her current two-year term will end on Dec. 31.

“It’s been the honor and privilege of my life to represent the people of Eastern Washington in Congress. They inspire me every day. They are part of the strength and soul of America — the greatest experiment in self-governance the world has ever known,” Rodgers said in a statement Thursday.  “After much prayer and reflection, I’ve decided the time has come to serve them in new ways. I will not be running for re-election to the People’s House.”

Rodgers currently serves as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and previously was chair of the House Republican Conference from 2012 to 2018.

“Especially as Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I’ve seen the best of Eastern Washington and the United States of America,” Rodgers stated. “We will spend this year honoring the Committee’s rich history — plowing the hard ground necessary to legislate on solutions to make people’s lives better and ensure America wins the future. 

According to Ballotpedia, she is among 40 members of the U.S. House who have announced they will not seek re-election in 2024. Rodgers is the second of Washington state’s congressional delegation with plans to leave the House when their current terms expire. In November, Rep. Derek Kilmer, a Democrat from Gig Harbor, announced his pending departure.

There were no immediate announcements by any prospective candidates to seek the 5th Congressional District seat, which abuts the state of Idaho and ranges from the Canadian border to Oregon. Outside of the city of Spokane, it is conservative politically and rural in nature, ranging from timber, ranching, and mining interests up north to dryland wheat production in the Palouse region down south.

Rodgers and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, who represents the 4th Congressional District of central Washington, are the two Republicans from this state serving in the nation’s capital, providing perspectives that often stand in contrast to their 10 more-liberal Democratic colleagues from western Washington.

“Cathy has been a conservative champion for Washington state and this country,” Newhouse told The Center Square in an email. “Her constituents in Eastern Washington, and Congress as an institution, are better off because of her dedicated service. As a friend, I wish her the very best in wherever the next chapter takes her.” 

Rodgers grew up on a family-operated orchard and fruit stand in the small community of Kettle Falls in the northeast corner of the state. In 2006, McMorris married Brian Rodgers, a Spokane native and retired naval commander. The couple have three children: Cole, Grace and Brynn.

“I would testify today that the greatest blessing in my life has been marrying Brian and becoming a wife and mom — my most cherished titles,” said Rodgers.

Her son, Cole, was born with an extra chromosome, resulting in disability, which led Rodgers to introduce legislation passed in 2014, called the ABLE Act, that allows states to create tax-advantaged savings programs for designated beneficiaries.

“Cole was with me on the House floor when we passed the ABLE Act, which marked a new chapter of opportunity and independence for people living with a disability,” said Rodgers. “Grace and Brynn joined me at countless parades, election night parties, trips to the office, and committee hearings. I love to see their drawings and notes hanging on my office walls. Brian, Cole, Grace, and Brynn give me strength and courage to give it my best every day.”

This report was first published by The Center Square Washington.


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