Congressman Denny Heck Announces Retirement, Blames Lack of "Civility" squib

Probable heated primary to follow. by Rich Smith
Who shall be the one to replace him? U.S. Congress

Wednesday morning, after "more than 40 years of intermittent public service," Congressman Denny Heck (D-Olympia), who famously got his own congressional district drawn for him during Washington's last redistricting process, announced his plan to retire at the end of his term.

He's represented Washington's 10th Congressional District—which covers nearly all of Thurston county plus parts of Pierce and Mason counties—since 2013. In 1976, the people of the 17th Legislative District elected him as their representative in the statehouse, where he served four terms.

In his statement, Rep. Heck delivers a moderate's swan song, hitting Trump for his "demonstrably very distant relationship with the truth" and lamenting the lack of "civility" in the discourse, the lack of compromise in Congress, the fact that "all or nothing is in," and the general lack of nouns. "Success seems to be measured by how many Twitter followers one has which are largely gained by saying increasingly outrageous things, the more personal the better. There are simply too many hyperbolic adjectives and too few nouns," Heck writes.

He also ticks off some of his most memorable moments in Congress, including his effort to help complete the construction of a state road, sponsoring a bill that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, advocating for YIMBYs, sponsoring bills to give Indian Country access to federal housing funding, and serving on the House Intelligence Committee, which this week handed over its recommendation to impeach the President. The last bill he got through the Senate, according to my inbox, was legislation that renamed the Tumwater Post Office after Eva G. Hewitt.

Heck's retirement is good news for Joshua Collins, a 25-year-old "socialist trucker," according to Huffpost, who's running on the Green New Deal. Collins's policy prerogatives contrast greatly with Heck's, which HuffPost summarizes:

He repeatedly voted last year to weaken financial regulations, bolster military spending and ease restrictions on payday lenders. His record includes votes to ax rules protecting forests from logging, maintain fossil fuels’ advantage over renewables in federal research funding and speed up natural gas exports. He opposes “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal.

On Twitter, Collins thanked Heck for his service, adding, "It's our generations [sic] time, & we need serious action on climate change."

Heck doesn't appear ready to endorse Collins, saying in his letter that he's "confident that there will be outstanding people [who will] step forward to take up the challenge to represent this beautiful corner of our great land."

According to the latest from the Federal Election Commission, Collins has only raised a little over $40,000 for his bid. Nancy Dailey Slotnick, an army vet and co-founder of an emergency preparedness consulting firm, has filed to run on the Republican ticket, but she's only raised under $20,000. Slotnick ran for the seat as an Independent in 2018 but didn't make it through the primary. Now we wait to see which "serious" Republican will step up (Sen. Steve O'Ban?? House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox??), and which Moderate Dem will run.

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