Congressman Maurice Hinchey officially announced that he will retire when his 10th term concludes at the end of this year.
"While it is incredibly hard to leave a job I truly love, I know in my heart of hearts that now is the right time for me to move on," Hinchey said.
The congressman thanked the people of his district for their support and affording him "the opportunity of a lifetime."
He told told the crowd of supporters gathered in Kingston that his recent treatment for colon cancer helped him put his life in perspective. "It's easy to get caught up in the day to day things in life, but this past year provided me with an even greater appreciation for my family, my friends, and, quite frankly, my time," he said.
He was first elected to congress in 1992 and is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. He also served 18 years in the New York State Assembly. He said his future plans include writing, traveling and spending more time with family and friends.
Hinchey represents New York's 22nd Congressional District, which covers a large swath of the upstate region from the Hudson Valley west to Binghamton and Ithaca. He defeated Republican challenger George K. Phillips in the 2010 election.
New York legislators are currently wrestling with how the state will drop two of its 29 congressional seats under redistricting.
In his announcement Thursday, Hinchey said he hopes his upstate New York district remains intact through the current redistricting process.
"I feel very strongly that the integrity of the 22nd District, which has encompassed the same general area for four decades, should be preserved and remain largely intact," he said. "I make this announcement now out of respect for that redistricting process and my colleagues in the New York congressional delegation."
Hinchey said he hopes his exit does not make the 22nd District a target.
With the Associated Press