Gordon to retire

Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN), chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, announced this morning that he will not seek reelection in 2010. Gordon, who was first elected to Congress in 1984, said it was time for him to being a “new chapter” in his life. “When I was elected, I was the youngest member of the Tennessee congressional delegation; now, I’m one of the oldest. In fact, I have members of my staff who weren’t even born when I took office.” Gordon took over the chairmanship of the committee when Democrats gained a majority in the House after the 2006 elections; he had been the ranking member since early 2004 after Ralph Hall switch parties.

In a separate press release by the science committee, Gordon said that passing a reauthorization bill for NASA would be one his priorities in his final year in office. The committee had previously planned working on such a bill this year, but elected to wait until the White House made its decision on the future direction of NASA’s human spaceflight program.

Update 3 pm: Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) has already tossed his hat in the ring to succeed Gordon, according to a release sent out this afternoon: “As the second ranking Democrat on the Science and Technology Committee, I am interested in and will pursue the chairmanship of the full committee and look forward to discussing it with our Democratic leadership and my colleagues in our caucus.”

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