Yesterday Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) announced that he will retire at the end of this session of Congress. Holt is one of the two physicists in Congress, representing New Jersey’s 12th District for eight terms.
Holt, who was elected in 1998, released the following statement to his constituents:
“I want to let you know that this will be my last term serving you in the U.S. House of Representatives. For many reasons, all hopeful and positive, I feel that at the end of the year it will be time to step aside and ask you to choose your next representative.
“Representing you has been the greatest honor of my life. I first sought this office because I believed that Congress, even with its frustrations, is the greatest instrument for justice and human welfare in the world. I believed that, through diligent and committed service, a representative can ensure that each person knows she or he has a voice in our democracy. My confidence in these beliefs has only strengthened over the years I have served you in the U.S. House.
“Please know that this is not goodbye. I will continue to serve you throughout the remainder of my term in Congress, which will run until next January. My dedicated staff and I will continue to serve you in your dealings with the federal government and to listen to your voice on issues facing New Jersey and our country. . . . .
“Over the course of my life, I have sought many ways to serve -- as a teacher, a scientist, and most recently as a representative in Congress. I look forward to remaining involved in our community and to finding new ways to serve.
“I remain aware of the privilege of representing you. I remain ever appreciative of your help and support over these many years. And I know the high standards you expect and deserve your representative to set.
Member of Congress”
Before coming to Congress Holt was the Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 1989 until 1998. He was a Congressional Science Fellow for Rep. Robert Edgar (D-PA) from 1982 to 1983, being sponsored by the American Physical Society, an AIP Member Society. Holt is an APS Fellow.
Holt sits on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the Committee on Natural Resources. While in Congress, he has worked for increases in federal funding for science and technology, and has demonstrated a deep interest in education from the pre-K to the graduate level, and the teaching of STEM education.
Reacting to Holt’s announcement, Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) released the following statement:
“I was saddened to hear of the retirement of my friend and colleague Congressman Rush Holt. His thoughtful and rational approach to the legislative process will be deeply missed.
“While I am proud to carry the torch for physicists in Congress, it is clear that we need more scientists in public office. Too much of our Congress is made up of lawyers and career politicians who are trained in the art of arguing, but not in problem solving or analyzing data to develop commonsense solutions. While no one can match him, as Watson knows, we need more Representatives like Rush Holt to bring a voice for science and reason to Congress.”