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WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [name] => who-is-leaving-congress [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog ) [query_vars] => Array ( [name] => who-is-leaving-congress [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [posts_per_page] => 10 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8099 [post_author] => 43 [post_date] => 2023-01-17 21:06:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-01-17 21:06:43 [post_content] => While most public affairs shops are focused on the incoming Congress and introducing themselves to the new members being sworn in, there is another way to evaluate the new political landscape. We can focus on who is leaving. Dozens of lawmakers surrendered their seats last week, either because they decided to retire, lost a primary or were defeated in the general election. Collectively, hundreds of years of legislative experience are leaving the building, along with many unique backgrounds and political perspectives. If Congress were a corporation, this would be considered a brain drain. For government affairs teams, the departures can be as important as new members joining Congress. When lawmakers leave, teams lose champions on their issues, are forced to build new committee relationships and must contend with what these politicians, many of whom still have a platform, do outside Congress. This can be positive or negative. Some teams will continue to work with former members—or even hire them. Indeed, where lawmakers go is always interesting. Retirement from Congress does not necessarily mean a life of leisure. In many cases, former lawmakers pass through Washington’s revolving door to land new roles in the private and public sectors. They become lobbyists, join corporate boards, lead associations, serve at universities and form their own political organizations. Some may even run for office again. Since the first Congress was seated in 1789, more than 12,400 people have served as voting members of the House or the Senate or sometimes both, according to House records. This year, dozens of lawmakers, including Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate, have left office. Here are some of the most notable:

Who is Leaving the Senate?

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Who is Leaving the Senate?

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Who is Leaving the Senate?

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Who Left Congress in 2023? 10 Congressional Departures That Will Impact Advocacy Teams

Who Left Congress in 2023? 10 Congressional Departures That Will Impact Advocacy Teams

While most public affairs shops are focused on the incoming Congress and introducing themselves to the new members being sworn in, there is another way to evaluate the new political landscape. We can focus on who is leaving.

Dozens of lawmakers surrendered their seats last week, either because they decided to retire, lost a primary or were defeated in the general election. Collectively, hundreds of years of legislative experience are leaving the building, along with many unique backgrounds and political perspectives. If Congress were a corporation, this would be considered a brain drain.

For government affairs teams, the departures can be as important as new members joining Congress. When lawmakers leave, teams lose champions on their issues, are forced to build new committee relationships and must contend with what these politicians, many of whom still have a platform, do outside Congress. This can be positive or negative. Some teams will continue to work with former members—or even hire them.

Indeed, where lawmakers go is always interesting. Retirement from Congress does not necessarily mean a life of leisure. In many cases, former lawmakers pass through Washington’s revolving door to land new roles in the private and public sectors. They become lobbyists, join corporate boards, lead associations, serve at universities and form their own political organizations. Some may even run for office again.

Since the first Congress was seated in 1789, more than 12,400 people have served as voting members of the House or the Senate or sometimes both, according to House records. This year, dozens of lawmakers, including Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate, have left office. Here are some of the most notable:

Who is Leaving the Senate?

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

When Leahy entered the Senate, he was 33 and the Vietnam War dominated the news. Eight terms later, Leahy is 81 and retires as the most-senior senator. Only two others have served longer. Leahy’s Senate career spanned eight presidents. Twice he served as president pro tempore, third in line to the presidency. That kind of experience and institutional knowledge is difficult to replace. Leahy was a voice on many vital issues, from supporting LGBTQ rights to opposing the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Many teams will be losing a powerful ally.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

In a career that spanned more than three decades, Portman served as associate White House Counsel, director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, United States Trade Representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget, all in addition to more than a decade each in both the House and the Senate. In the Senate alone, he authored or co-authored 195 bills that were signed into law. “Almost all are bipartisan and a product of the back and forth that leads to common ground,” Portman said. Background and experience like this will be missed as Portman and other veteran Senators leave the chamber, especially by government affairs teams that need to work with moderate Republicans. As Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put it, “he’s built the relationships to make law.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)

Sasse came from the world of academia, served a full term in the Senate and then, after winning a second term, announced his departure to serve as president of the University of Florida. During his time in Congress, Sasse became known as a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack. He was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict Trump after he was impeached by the House, saying Trump brought the U.S. “dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis.” Sasse is one of a small group of Republicans willing to openly criticize Trump. Several of the most vocal are leaving Congress, which could change the tone of political debate.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)

After a career that included more than 50 years in elected office and 36 years in the Senate—including time as both a Democrat and a Republican—the 88-year-old is retiring. During his time in the Senate, Shelby chaired four committees. In fact, he served as chair of the Appropriations Committee from 2018 to 2021 and then ranking member last year, meaning his departure will have many public affairs teams working to build new relationships. . Colleagues say Shelby’s statesmanship will also be missed. “Richard had an ability to collaborate with people, reach across the aisle and understand there are other people who have interests,” said Doug Jones, a former Democratic Senator from Alabama.

Who is Leaving the House?

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY-1)

Cheney’s vocal opposition to Trump and his supporters—especially those who question the 2020 election results—cost her a leadership role in the House, and then her seat itself. But it made her a national figure and she leaned into her position, going so far as to campaign for Democrats who oppose Trump candidates. Cheney’s stance leaves her in an unusual situation. CNN called her “a politician without a home.” But the entire political landscape is watching to see what she does next, and savvy public affairs teams will do the same. Cheney is very likely to stay in the public eye and could have a major impact on the national conversation in the next two years.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30)

Johnson represented her district for three decades, serving as chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus along the way. She was the first registered nurse ever elected to Congress and, at 87, she was the dean of Texas’s massive delegation when she retired. Johnson was a champion for STEM education and an inspiration for women. “Your gender has nothing to do with your achievements,” she told CBS. “If you put your mind to it and give it some time, it’s achievable. And when you achieve it, people benefit.”

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17)

In 2020, Jones and fellow New York Rep. Ritchie Torres were celebrated as the first openly gay Black members of Congress. But after redistricting, Jones was forced to run in another district and lost in the primary. Jones’s loss after a single term shows that, while Black and LGBTQ representation has grown in Congress in recent years, the progression is not always linear. Teams working on LGBTQ issues may have lost an ally in the House, but, at 35, Jones will remain active in politics and policy. He was appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights this month.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16)

Like Cheney, Kinzinger has been a vocal critic of the Trump wing of his party (the pair were the only two Republicans on the committee investigating Jan. 6). Like Jones, redistricting made it harder for him to win election in 2022. So, after a dozen years in the House, the 44-year-old retired from Congress, but not necessarily from politics. Kinzinger will work with Country First, the political group that he founded, and has signed on as a political commentator with CNN.

Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA-17)

Lamb was celebrated as a rising Democratic star after grabbing a House seat from a Republican in a 2018 special election, and then winning a full term in a neighboring district in 2020. But he was defeated in the primary that set up the well-watched race for Pennsylvania’s open senate seat. Lamb’s story is a reminder that time in Congress can be short, a point that is worth remembering for public affairs teams. It ensures that people who have served in Congress are often available, whether for consultation or partnership. He has signed on with a law firm in Philadelphia and he has not ruled out another run for political office.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-14)

Speier was a young congressional staffer in 1978, when she was shot five times during a Congressional mission to Jonestown, Guyana, home of the cult run by Jim Jones. What followed was a lifetime of service, first in the California legislature and then for almost 15 years in Congress, where she fought for women’s rights, gun control and other issues. Speier plans to launch a foundation to help women and families in her district, she told Elle Magazine, but will miss the power to make change that comes with a House seat. “It makes me sad I will be losing my voice,” she said.

For years, political analysts have joked that serving in Congress is the best job most lawmakers will ever have, and that may be true in some cases. For those interested in influencing policy, few jobs can offer the platform provided by Congress, especially for those who stay, gain seniority, chair committees and become part of the political fabric. Many of those leaving the House and Senate this month did exactly that.

But for others, Congress is one phase of a longer and more diverse career, and the more influential jobs often come after they leave the Hill. Members of Congress have gone on to serve as top executives, governors—even as president. For public affairs teams, that means how you address those departing from Congress can be important. While the focus is understandably on those coming into power, those leaving are also worthy of discussion. Can a former lawmaker—state or federal—help your organization or your issues? Do you have a strategy to court that help? How members of Congress can impact your work is always a worthy conversation, and that’s true whether they are coming or going.