Today, Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) issued the following statement formally announcing his decision not to seek re-election to Congress in 2012.
"I love the people of the Central Valley, and thank them for the confidence they have placed in me for over 20 years of elective office. While I plan to retire from public service after this term in Congress, I will energetically continue my efforts to improve California as a private citizen.
"I thank my wife, Kathie, our children and my entire family for their steadfast love and support. To my friends, campaign volunteers and contributors, I wish to say that nothing I have accomplished would have been possible without you. I also want to thank the many honorable public servants, both colleagues and staff, with whom I have served. They have become -- and will remain -- dear friends.
"Reflecting on our successes, I am most proud of our work to build community centers, new schools, roads and water infrastructure in both the Valley and throughout California. I am proud of efforts to better the lives of foster children, promote green energy technology, and provide law enforcement with the resources they need to make our communities safer. The number one industry in the Valley is agriculture, and our work to eliminate the "tractor tax" in California and write the 2008 Farm Bill will always stand out as major advances. Finally, as the first in my family to graduate from college, I will always be most proud of our success in establishing UC Merced, and will continue to work to build a full Medical School there.
"Looking back on disappointments, I am dismayed by the Administration's failure to understand and effectively address the current housing foreclosure crisis. Home foreclosures are destroying communities and crushing our economy, and the Administration's inaction is infuriating. As a leader of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, I am also disappointed by the broadcast media's general lack of attention to moderate members of Congress, and their failure to recognize those members of all ideologies who work together to build consensus and solve problems. The constant focus on "screamers' and the "horse race' of elections is smothering useful discourse and meaningful debate of public policy. This, in turn, is fueling the increasingly harsh tone in American politics. My experience tells me that those who shout the loudest, and give the most speeches, have the fewest good solutions for America's challenges.
"After nearly 20 years in elected office, I offer this advice: Voters need to reward statesmanship. Too many Americans are losing faith in our government and our democracy. For our country to change course, voters must aggressively punish extreme partisanship and rhetoric when they cast their ballots. The United States of America is too great a nation for us not to demand excellence in our leaders."
"I again want to thank the citizens of the Valley for allowing me the privilege of serving our community for all these years. We have overcome many challenges together, but I have no doubt that our best days are yet to come."