Congressman Gary Ackerman, a Democrat from Queens, N.Y., announced Thursday he would not seek reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ackerman, who has spent 30 years in Congress, served on the Financial Services and Foreign Affairs committees for the House. Before a career in politics, he was a public school teacher in New York City.
“During my years in Congress, it has been my pleasure to address the needs of thousands of individual constituents and to influence domestic and global policy,” Ackerman, 69, said.
The New York Times reported that his decision was “somewhat baffling to his colleagues in Congress,” as he had been talking about his reelection campaign.
The Times described Ackerman as a colorful character who drove a white Plymouth Valiant and who wore a white carnation boutonniere on his lapel. He held a popular annual fundraiser in Washington, D.C., where New York deli food, including matzo ball soup, was served.
Ackerman will leave office on Jan. 2, 2013.
More content from msnbc.com and NBC News
- 'Warming up mighty early' across parts of the US
- Is 14 too young for life in prison? Supreme Court to weigh
- $10 million Degas is latest mystery in Huguette Clarke case
- Debate rages over Mexico 'spillover violence'