Longtime House Democrat announces retirement before 2020 election
By David Denson
Congressman Peter J. Visclosky, this week announced that he will not seek another term.
Visclosky is the third most senior Democrat in the House of Representatives to announce that he will not seek re-election in 2020.
First elected in 1984, he defeated incumbent Katie Hall in a race that included then Lake County Prosecutor Jack Crawford.
The eighteen-term veteran legislator used the anniversary of his 35 years in office to announce that he would not seek a term.
“For the last 35 years our office has vigorously advocated on behalf of constituents on any number of local, state and federal issues. While we could never guarantee positive results, we could guarantee our hard work and best efforts.
“For my entire career I have worked to build support for our domestic steel industry and organized labor, secure investment in transformational projects and improve our quality of a place to benefit the only place I have ever called home,” said Visclosky.
Visclosky was born in Gary and represented Indiana’s 1st Congressional District.
During his tenure Visclosky was an avid supporter of organized labor and introduced numerous legislation that would benefit working people.
Realizing the importance of preserving and protecting natural resources, Visclosky sponsored major legislation to protect the national lakeshore and the Indiana Dunes.
Talk of potential candidates to replace him began to surface as the news of Visclosky’s decision to not run began to spread.
On the day that Visclosky made his announcement, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott announced that he will be a candidate. This was followed by North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan, who during an interview on a Hammond radio station talk show announced that he too would be running.
McDermott, the four-term mayor of Hammond has had a rocky relationship with Visclosky, often criticizing him on several policy issues.
In announcing his candidacy, McDermott was quoted as saying he is running to “change Congress and the bipartisanship that is causing the national legislature to be dysfunctional, ineffective and not good for America.”
Mrvan has served as trustee of North Township for 14 years. Prior to becoming trustee, he was a member of the North Township Board.
Mrvan said that if elected he would continue to support organized labor and the steel industry, seek to bring new businesses to the district and support issues dealing with protecting the elderly.
Visclosky in a statement announcing his decision not to seek re-election said, “For those who wish to serve our next generation of citizens I encourage each to apprise us of your vision for the area and the priorities you will dedicate your attention to at the national level.
“Be for something and not against someone. Strive to overcome the intolerance that grips our nation and recognize that only through mutual respect, rational discourse, cooperation and fair play can we build a good and strong community country,” Visclosky said.