Rush will not run for reelection after this year citing he wishes to spend more time with his grandchildren.
In a recent interview, Rush said he came to his decision after speaking with his 19-year-old grandson, Jonathan.
“I don’t want my grandchildren . . . to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” Rush said. “I want them to know me on an intimate level, know something about me, and I want to know something about them. I don’t want to be a historical figure to my grandchildren.”
Before his career in politics, Rush was a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and then helped found the Illinois Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. He’s been a civil rights and racial justice activist ever since.
In 1975, Rush was defeated in his first run for City Council. He became an alderman of the 2nd Ward in 1983 and held the position until he was elected to Congress in 1992. Also, he holds the distinction of being the only person to defeat Barack Obama in an election when the future president sought Rush’s seat in 2000.
Recently, Rush has introduced legislation to classify lynching as a federal hate crime and has pushed the federal government to reveal files related to the killing of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther leader who was targeted by an FBI informant and murdered by police in Chicago in 1969.
An ordained minister, Rush is the pastor of the Beloved Community Christian Church of God in Christ in Chicago.
After his announcement, Rush is now the 24th House Democrat to announce that he will not run for reelection this year, making the Democrat’s chances to hold on to the majority in the House all the more challenging.
Rush also announced last week that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, despite being fully vaccinated and having received his booster shot.
“I am feeling fine and currently have no symptoms. . . . As COVID-19 cases rise and the Omicron variant spreads throughout the nation, I encourage everyone who has not yet done so to get vaccinated and get boosted as soon as possible,” Rush said in a statement.
Rush will give more details about his retirement and future plans at a news conference on Tuesday 11 a.m. CT at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago where the funeral for Emmett Till was held.