As the 2012 elections approach, more members of Congress are announcing their intention to withdraw from public life at the end of the 112th Congress. To date, 17 Representatives and 9 Senators plan to retire when the current session of Congress draws to a close. Among the soon to be retirees are several members who have been strong supporters of science.

Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) announced earlier this month that he plans to retire. Hinchey, who has served 10 terms in Congress, is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. In that role, he has defended federal investments in science. Hinchey has been treated for colon cancer, but recently was given a clean bill of health.

Last week, Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) announced that he will retire. He publically acknowledged that North Carolina’s newly drawn congressional map motivated his departure from Congress. Following redistricting, Miller’s current district was combined with the district of fellow Democrat Rep. David Price. Miller has served five terms in the House of Representatives and has held leadership positions on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. He is currently the senior Democrat on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

Also of note, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) resigned last week to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head last January. Giffords had previously chaired the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science Committee.


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