Ventura County's longest serving U.S. representative is retiring. Rep. Elton Gallegly announced Friday night that he will not seek re-election, according to a statement issued by his office Saturday.
The 67-year-old Congressman announced his decision with his wife, Janice, to a small group of friends saying it did not come lightly.
"But, in the end, Janice and I decided now was the right time to begin the next chapter in our lives ... It has been an honor and a privilege to have served our communities and our country for the past 25 years and I look forward to continue to do so for the next year," he said, according to the statement.
Gallegly serves as the vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the Judiciary Committee's Subcomittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.
He first ran for Congress in 1986 after serving as the first directly-elected mayor of Simi Valley, where the Southern California native has lived since 1968. He entered public service in 1979, when he was elected to the Simi Valley city council.
Gallegly's announcement comes on the tail of California's recent redistricting, which split his old district and would pit him against fellow GOP Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee if he chose to run in one of the new districts. McKeon currently represents the majority of the new district. Gallegly's other option was to run in the new 26th district that includes Moorpark and much of the rest of Ventura County, expanding to cover Oxnard and Port Hueneme but not including Santa Barbara County, thus offering different demographics—and a slight Democrat advantage—than the area he currently serves and is the district in which Moorpark City Council member David Pollock is seeking the Democratic nomination.
“Janice and I want to thank everyone who has been with us through more than 30 years of public service,” Gallegly said in the statement issued Saturday. “Serving in Congress and representing my home for 25 years is the greatest experience I could have ever asked for."