Olver nixes re-election bid

WASHINGTON D.C. -U.S. Representative John W. Olver announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to the seat he has held for 20 years.
The 75-year-old Amherst resident, who has represented the 1st Congressional District, cited family issues as the reason for not seeking to return to office. Olver’s wife, Rose, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer earlier this year.
Olver had said that he planned to seek another term, as reported in area media, as late as Monday, Oct. 24. The announcement Wednesday was an unexpected reversal of his campaign plan.
Olver, a 20-year veteran of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, won a special election in 1991 following the death of U.S. Rep. Silvo O. Conte (R-Pittsfield). Conte served 16 terms as the 1st Congressional District representative before his death on Feb. 8, 1991.
“Since 1991, I have had the privilege and great honor of representing the people of the First District of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Olver said in a prepared text released Wednesday. “The district has grown much larger from the district as it was in 1991, and these twenty years have been tumultuous years for America.
“Last December, I announced that I intended to seek to continue my congressional service beyond 2012,” Olver said. “Over the past six months, circumstances within my family have substantially changed, and I now find I must reconsider my earlier decision.
“Therefore, I will retire from the House of Representatives at the conclusion of the current (112th) Congress,” Olver said.
U.S. Senator John Kerry today released a statement after Congressman John Olver announced his decision to retire at the end of this term.
“My friend and longtime colleague John Olver is a quiet man who lets his large accomplishments speak for him,” Kerry said. “He’s a public servant of principle who has served western Massachusetts with great skill and deep passions belied by his unassuming and humble demeanor. “All of those qualities are a great credit to this remarkable public servant,” Kerry said. “He’s been a congressional workhorse with the heart of an Amherst activist.”
“Last June I was honored to join John in Holyoke to celebrate his accomplishments over two decades in Congress,” he said. “Today we celebrate him again and the difficult decisions he’s made, and we thank his beloved wife Rose and their daughter Martha for sharing him with the District and with Massachusetts for so many years.”
Rep. Barny Frank today released a statement in response to the news that Congressman John Olver plans to retire at the end of his current term.
“We will miss John Olver as a legislative leader and effective advocate for Massachusetts, and I will miss him as a colleague,” Frank said. “His career exemplifies public service at its best.”
State Senator Michael Knapik, (R-WESTFIELD) also commended Olver for his service to western Massachusetts in a prepared text released this morning.
“For the past 20 years, John Olver has been a tremendous advocate for the communities of the First Congressional District,” Knapik said. “Nobody works harder for the cities and towns across the Second Hampden & Hampshire District which have benefited from his stewardship of our transportation infrastructure and military construction at Barnes in Westfield and Westover in Chicopee.
“I was proud to call him a colleague for a short time when I was first elected to the Legislature and have enjoyed working with him on several local projects over the years,” Knapik said. “I certainly wish him and his family well as he completes a distinguished career in public service.”
Olver’s decision not to seek re-election comes against the backdrop of redistricting in the state based upon the federal 2010 census. The state is losing one U.S. House seat, dropping from 10 to nine, requiring the merger of districts.
The 2010 census population numbers mean that each U.S. congressional district will represent 727,000, up from the current 635,000 residents.
The state Legislature is expected to release the new configuration of U.S. House districts in the near future, a process that both may have influenced Olver’s decision and may be influenced by it.
Olver’s decision may facilitate the state legislators decision to merge the 1st Congressional District with another district to achieve the 727,000 population requirement.
There has been consideration of merging Olver’s district with that of Rep. James P. McGovern, which would have pitted the two incumbents. Andrea Nuciforo, (D-Pittsfield,) who served 10 years as a state representative, and who is currently the Berkshire Register of Deeds, has announced that he will also seek the congressional seat held by Olver.
“I applaud John Olver for his dedicated service in the U.S. Congress. John has always kept the people of Western Massachusetts first and foremost in his policy decisions. I wish Congressman Olver, his wife Rose, and their family much health and happiness,” Nuciforo said.
“I agree with the Congressman that western Massachusetts should continue to be represented by two members of Congress, and urge the legislative redistricting committee to draw lines accordingly,” he added.
Another redistricting option being considered was to merge Olver’s seat with that of Rep. Richard E. Neal, (D-SPRINGFIELD), which would have pitted the two long-time colleagues.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top