Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf says he will not seek an 18th term after more than three decades in Congress.
The 74-year-old Republican said in a statement he would focus on working on human rights and religious freedom. He has been a low-key, respected member of the House Appropriations Committee.
"It has been an honor to serve the people of northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley," Wolf said in a statement released Tuesday. "I thank my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for 34 years."
Wolf is the dean of the Virginia congressional delegation. He was first elected in 1980 and won his latest term in 2012 with 58 percent of the vote.
"There is a reason Frank has served so long and why his retirement is being met with so many expressions of admiration and respect: He has earned it," Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell said. "Frank is a Republican, and he believes deeply in his principles. But he has always been a Virginian first. He has sought out common ground, he has worked across the aisle, he has represented the people of this Commonwealth with distinction and with grace. His public service has never stopped, however, at the Potomac River or the Atlantic Ocean. Frank is perhaps best known for his human rights work, whether it be standing for peace in the Sudan, or fighting for justice for the victims of human trafficking."
"Frank Wolf has been a true friend and a great partner, both when I served as Virginia governor and since I’ve joined Congress," said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.
Warner added," We have worked closely together on northern Virginia transportation issues and partnered in consecutive sessions of Congress on bipartisan legislation that would encourage the on-shoring of jobs back to Virginia which have moved overseas in recent years. Frank has also been a passionate advocate and reliable ally in my ongoing efforts to find common ground on issues surrounding our nation’s deficits and debt."
"Frank has been a leader on Rail to Dulles, a tireless champion of federal workers, a partner in gang prevention and a passionate advocate for human rights around the world," said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. ""Congress and northern Virginia will forever be grateful for his service."
Democratic Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust announced earlier this month that he would seek Wolf's seat next year. Lawyer Richard Bolger and architect Sam Kubba are also seeking the Democratic nomination.
Alleged White House party crasher Tareq Salahi, who ran for governor as an independent, said Tuesday he will seek Wolf's seat.