Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), who has served in Congress for 46 years, has announced plans to retire instead of going forward with a re-election bid next year. The 81-year-old Vermont lawmaker is the longest-serving sitting senator and first took office in 1975. “It is time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter who will carry on this work for our great state. It’s time to come home,” he announced Monday. The decision is a departure from just months ago when he had signaled in May that he was leaning toward running for a potential ninth term.
Leahy is the president pro tempore of the Senate and chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. He is also a member of the Judiciary and Agriculture committees. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) is a likely candidate for Leahy’s seat.