In the aftermath of President Donald Trump telling four congresswomen of color to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came,” the last Black Republican House member announced Thursday he would be leaving Congress.
U.S. House Rep. Will Hurd has been a vocal critic of Trump’s racist rhetoric, although, the Texas native doesn’t mention the president in his plans to retire.
“After reflecting on how best to help our country address these challenges, I have made the decision to not seek reelection for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security,” Hurd wrote in an editorial.
He represents a district that is 71 percent Hispanic and reaches from just outside El Paso to San Antonio.
“I’ve taken a conservative message to places that don’t often hear it,” Hurd said on Twitter Thursday. “I’m going to (stay) involved in politics to help make sure the Republican Party looks like America.”
Following U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway and U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, Hurd is the third Republican Texas congressman to announce plans to leave Congress in recent days.
“There are many reasons why I love America,” he also wrote. “I have learned over my three terms in Congress, by representing people that voted for me, didn’t vote for me or didn’t vote at all, that America is better than the sum of its parts.”
Hurd has 17 months left in his term.
“There were times when it was fun and times when it wasn’t,” he said of his time in Congress. “When people were mad, it was my job to listen. When people felt hopeless, it was my job to care. When something was broken, it was my job to find out how to fix it.”
He said “serving people of all walks of life has shown me that way more unites our country than divides us.”
With Hurd’s retirement, Democrats eagerly await the opportunity to snatch his district.
Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones, an openly gay U.S. Air Force veteran whom Hurd beat last year, will be running again for the seat after losing by less than 1,000 votes.
Manny Garcia, the Texas Democratic Party’s executive director, said in a news release Dallas Morning News obtained that “Texas is the biggest battleground state.”
“The simple facts are that hypocrite Trump Republican Will Hurd did not stand a chance in the 23rd Congressional District,” Garcia said.