Bob Goodlatte announces he will not seek re-election in 2018

Published: Nov. 9, 2017 at 11:05 AM EST
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After 25 years in the House of Representatives, Congressman Bob Goodlatte has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Goodlatte was elected to represent Virginia's 6th District as the Republican candidate in 1992 and has served in the role ever since, winning 13 elections, fending off six challengers in that time. Other years, he remained un-challenged.

The 6th District covers most of the Shenandoah Valley, including Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties, as well parts of Bedford and Roanoke County.

In the past year, Goodlatte has been in the national spotlight as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, responsible for

into former President Obama's Justice Department just last month.

However, his tenure as chairman of the judiciary panel ends in December 2018 due to term limits. He describes the marker as the "natural stepping-off point" and a chance to begin a new chapter.

He's been staunchly conservative on most fiscal and social issues, but did find common ground with Democrats on technology and national security. Most recently, Goodlatte joined with committee Democrats to sponsor a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to get a court order before viewing intelligence collected by the National Security Agency.

A fiscal hawk, Goodlatte backed a 2012 amendment that would have cut defense spending by more than $7 billion.

He sparred frequently with the Obama administration and Democrats on immigration. Four years ago, after the Senate passed a comprehensive bill to overhaul U.S. immigration laws, Goodlatte rejected the idea of giving millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally a special path to citizenship.

Goodlatte said the House should chart its own course on immigration even if that failed to produce a plan acceptable to President Barack Obama. He said he would do everything possible to ensure the House never acted on the Senate's bill. That legislation never did have a House vote.

The House in September passed legislation he sponsored to make membership in a criminal gang grounds for deportation. Republicans have warned of the dangers of the violent street gang MS-13.

He has also represented interests of the Shenandoah Valley for years by chairing the Agriculture Committee.

Early in 2017, following Goodlatte's 2016 defeat of Democratic challenger Kai Degner, constituents across the district frequently

for refusals to accept invitations to town hall events, like his


"Where's Bob?" became a rallying cry for many who


Goodlatte defended his contact with constituents to WHSV.

"I've always made it my priority to communicate with the people I represent," said Goodlatte. "I meet regularly with groups or individuals who have requested appointments, attend community events, and correspond with constituents who have contacted my office via phone, email, postal mail, and social media."

You can find video of several of his recent visits in the Valley, as well as a 1on1 interview with WHSV's Bob Corso, above.

This announcement comes just two days after Democrats


than they had gained at any point during Goodlatte's time in office.

Goodlatte said that every two years, he and his wife, Maryellen, sit down to discuss whether he should run again.

The 65-year-old Goodlatte is among several other longtime House committee chairmen who have announced plans to retire at the end of their term, including Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who heads the financial services panel, and Lamar Smith of Texas, the science committee chairman.

Bob Goodlatte has released an official statement explaining his decision, which you can read in full below. It's unclear exactly what he plans to do after retirement from Congress.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Dear Friend, When I first decided to run for Congress there were several things I wanted to achieve for the Commonwealth of Virginia and our nation. I had a strong passion for public service, a love of the law and the judicial system, and a deep appreciation for the people who call western and central Virginia home. These passions led me to serve on the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees throughout my time in the House, and have shaped my work on policies impacting the American people. I’ve had the privilege to serve as Chairman of both of these committees, and I’ve been proud to work on policies that have become law and advance fiscal conservatism, personal liberty, economic growth, and limited government. For the past 25 years, it has been my honor to represent the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. I cannot begin to express how blessed I am to have had the opportunity to serve and take part in the great experiment of self-government envisioned by our Founders. It has been a labor of love to work countless hours and travel endless miles on the roads of our District for a quarter of a century. Every two years, Maryellen and I sat down to discuss whether to run again or not. When we discussed the 2018 election, the conversation ended a little differently than in past years. After much contemplation and prayer, we decided it was the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the Sixth District. I will not seek re-election. With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters. While I’m not running for re-election, my work in the 115th Congress is far from done. There is much that I hope we can accomplish in the next year, including: bolstering enforcement of our immigration laws and reforming the legal immigration system, simplifying the tax code in order to stimulate job growth and benefit families in the Sixth District, enacting criminal justice reform, repealing Obamacare, advancing protections of the freedoms and liberties enshrined in our Constitution, and, of course, continuing first-class constituent service for the citizens of the Sixth District. I look forward to working with the House Leadership, the Senate, and President Trump in bringing real conservative change to our country. I extend my deepest thanks to the people of Virginia’s Sixth District who have placed their trust in me. It is truly you who are the highlight of my time in elected office. I’ve had the good fortune of having an amazing staff team during my time in Congress – both in my Sixth District offices as well as in the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees. They’ve done excellent work, and I greatly value their commitment to serving the Sixth District and the American people. I’d also like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work over the years. I genuinely appreciate your friendship and support. And finally, none of this would have been possible without the love and support of my wife, Maryellen, and our children, Bobby, Jen, and Jen’s husband, Matt. They have my enduring love and gratitude. I look forward to what the next chapter brings. Sincerely, Bob

 RPV Statement on Congressman Bob Goodlatte 

RPV Chairman John Whitbeck issued the following statement: 

"Congressman Bob Goodlatte has been a strong voice for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the people of the 6th District. Throughout his service, Bob has been a nationwide leader on issues such as agriculture, immigration, and for a balanced budget initiative similar to legislation the Commonwealth has on its books. 

During his service in the House of Representatives, Bob has served as Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, fighting for one of the most important economic drivers in his district, and as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, standing up for American's constitutional freedoms and liberties.  

We sincerely thank Bob for his service, and he will be sorely missed in Virginia politics.  It has been a privilege to work with Bob, fighting for our conservative values." 

~ On the retirement of Congressman Bob Goodlatte ~
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the below statement following Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) announcement that he will retire at the end of 2018:
“Bob Goodlatte has served the people of Virginia in Congress for more than two decades. I have appreciated the opportunity to work with Congressman Goodlatte on a variety of issues important to our constituents in the Roanoke Valley. I thank him for a lifetime of public service, and extend him and Maryellen my very best wishes for the future.”
~ On the retirement of Congressman Bob Goodlatte ~
“While Bob and I didn’t see eye to eye on everything, we worked together for our constituents on local issues like helping Plains Area Day Care in Rockingham County make building repairs and designating the ‘National George C. Marshall Museum and Library’ in Lexington. I’d like to thank Rep. Goodlatte for 25 years of public service in Virginia and I wish him and his family the very best in his retirement from Congress.”
Statement of Senator Mark Obenshain on Retirement of Congressman Bob Goodlatte
HARRISONBURG—Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement in response to the announcement this morning that Congressman Bob Goodlatte would not be seeking reelection this year.
“Bob Goodlatte has been a true public servant to the citizens of the 6th District.  He has been a stalwart leader standing strong for our conservative principles and values here in the Shenandoah Valley and Western Virginia.  As a legislator representing Virginia’s number one agricultural district, I am especially grateful for all he did for farmers and the agricultural economy.  His efforts and assistance were instrumental in helping hundreds of poultry farmers save their family farms when they came together to form the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative,” Obenshain said.
“Suzanne and I thank him for his leadership but most of all for his friendship over these past twenty-five years and wish Bob and Maryellen nothing but the best in retirement.”
Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Virginia Senate.  The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock and Rockingham (part).

 Rasoul Responds to Rep. Bob 

Goodlatte's Retirement
ROANOKE, VA - In light of the recent announcement from Rep. Goodlatte's office, Del. Rasoul has issued the following statement:
"I am offering my sincere thanks to Rep. Goodlatte for his years of public service.  
Tuesday's election results have clearly shown that the people of the Commonwealth are looking for a direction that does not rely on the politics of fear and division. 

While many people have inquired, at this time, I am not considering a run in the 6th Congressional District. I am excited about the dramatic changes in the Virginia Assembly, and all of the legislative advances we can make in Virginia."





WEYERS CAVE, VA – Del. R. Steven Landes, R-Weyers Cave, issued the following statement on the announcement today that Congressman Bob Goodlatte would not be seeking another term.


“After I received a call from Bob this morning, I recognized how much his leadership will be missed. Bob Goodlatte is a true public servant and has served the citizens of the 6th District with distinction. He embodies the conservative principles and values the Shenandoah Valley and Western Virginia expect and deserve. Having worked for Bob and representing shared constituencies, I can attest firsthand to his contributions to the 6th District and the people of the Commonwealth,” said Landes.


“His leadership in Congress and Virginia will be sorely missed. I wish my friend and mentor Bob Goodlatte and his wife Maryellen all the best as they embark on this new path in their lives.”


Landes represents the 25th House District, which includes parts of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties. Landes is currently serving his eleventh term in the Virginia House of Delegates. Visit for additional information.