Washington mainstay Peter King, who represents New York’s 2nd Congressional District, announced Monday that he would not seek a 15th term in the House of Representatives.
The 75-year-old Seaford Republican, long known for his independence on issues as well as his sometimes acerbic remarks, said he wanted to spend more time with his family, and that it was time to come home to Seaford.
The announcement followed his daughter Erin King Sweeney’s decision last month not to seek re-election to his old seat on the Hempstead Town Board.
Though a Republican stalwart, King never balked throughout his long political career at voting against his party when he disagreed with its stances. During his three terms as Nassau County comptroller in the 1980s and early 1990s, he frequently sparred with County Executives Francis Purcell and Thomas Gulotta, both Republicans, on budget matters. And he was one of only a handful of Republicans to vote against the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
Though a conservative on issues such as immigration, health care and abortion, King formed working bipartisan partnerships with moderate Democrats like Rep. Tom Suozzi, of Glen Cove — most recently as they called for a tax on e-cigarettes as a means of limiting teen smoking.
King was first elected to Congress from New York’s 3rd District in 1992, after serving three terms as comptroller and one term as a Town of Hempstead councilman. He moved to the 2nd Congressional District in 2013, after reapportionment.
King said he would serve the remainder of his term.
Liuba Grechen Shirley, who narrowly lost to King in last year’s election, wished the retiring lawmaker well in retirement, and added, “The issues I focused my campaign on last year — from paid family leave and affordable health care to climate change and a woman’s right to choose — are still very much at the forefront of today’s political debate.”